Ukraine and Moldova are officially eligible for membership of the European Union. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, announced it Thursday evening.
The heads of government of the 27 EU countries all agreed Thursday evening at a meeting of the European Council that Ukraine and Moldova are candidates for membership.
Awarding membership to candidates is for now a rather symbolic gesture to offer Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky some perspective for the future as the country is overwhelmed by the Russian invasion. It is also a signal addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But for now, it looks like it will stick with the candidates joining. It is expected to be years before Ukraine can actually join the EU. However, in Brussels, we are talking about a historic day.
Ukraine will have to fulfill a number of conditions to effectively join. For example, the government of Kyiv must step up its fight against corruption and strengthen the rule of law and democracy. Only then can accession negotiations begin.
Zelensky speaks of a “unique and historic moment” in response to the announcement that his country could become an EU candidate. “The future of Ukraine is in the EU”, said the president.