European Leaders Open EU Membership Talks with Ukraine, Moldova, and Grant Candidate Status to Georgia
Ukraine and Moldova’s Path to EU Accession
European leaders have made the decision to open EU membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova and to grant candidate status to Georgia. This unanimous agreement was reached at a summit in Brussels. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the decision as “a victory” for his country and Europe.
Hungary, which has long opposed talks with Kyiv, did not veto the move. Prime Minister Viktor Orban briefly left the room while the other 26 leaders proceeded with the vote. He later expressed his disagreement in a video message on Facebook.
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu expressed her honor in sharing the path to EU accession with Ukraine. She acknowledged Ukraine’s brave resistance against Russia’s invasion as a significant factor in Moldova’s journey. The decision to start talks was seen as opening a “new page” for Moldova.
The Road to EU Membership
Talks on joining the European Union can be a lengthy process. While this decision in Brussels does not guarantee membership for Ukraine, it serves as a morale boost. EU candidate countries must undergo various reforms to meet standards in areas such as the rule of law and the economy. Ukraine has already completed over 90% of the required steps in justice and corruption.
A Strong Signal of Support
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz commended his fellow leaders for demonstrating a “strong sign of support” for Ukraine and Moldova. He emphasized that both countries belonged to “the European family.” This decision is a historic moment and an “important message of hope” for the citizens of Ukraine and Moldova, according to Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.
President Zelensky’s recent trip to the US in an attempt to secure military funding was unsuccessful. However, this political win allows him to prove that Ukraine is not being abandoned by its partners. The European Council president affirmed that the decision sent a “very powerful signal… to the people of Ukraine that we are on their side.”
Defending European Values
For Ukraine, the fight against Russia’s invasion is seen as a defense of European values. The country’s desire to move away from Russia’s political orbit and towards Europe was evident in the 2014 “Revolution of Dignity” that toppled its pro-Kremlin president. Georgia, which also experienced Russian invasion in 2008, considers the EU vote a “monumental milestone.”
Georgia has a largely pro-EU population and has refrained from imposing sanctions on Russia since the war began. President Salome Zurabishvili described the decision as significant for the country.
In addition to Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, the EU intends to open negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina once it meets the criteria for membership. Bosnia was granted candidate status a year ago but still needs to make progress on electoral and judicial reforms. The issue of secession within the majority-Serb area of Republika Srpska adds complexity to Bosnia’s path towards EU accession.
This decision by European leaders marks a step forward for these countries on their journey towards potential EU membership. It signifies the support and commitment of the EU to their aspirations for a European future.
Source: BBC News
Read More of this Story at www.bbc.com – 2023-12-14 20:09:00
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