The European Union’s (EU) commission on Friday recommended that Ukraine should join the 27-nation bloc.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (center) and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (second right) shake hands as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left), France’s President Emmanuel Macron (second left) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis stand beside them in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo:AP/PTI)
The executive members of the European Union (EU) on Friday gave its recommendation for Ukraine to become an official member of the 27-nation bloc. Ukraine had applied to join the EU just four days after Russian troops entered the country on February 24.
The EU’s recommendation comes a day after four EU leaders – Germany, France, Italy and Romania visited Kyiv and vowed to back Ukraine’s candidacy. The recommendation will be discussed by the leaders of the EU countries at a summit in Brussels next week. The launching of the candidacy process requires unanimous approval from all the EU members.
The commission also gave its recommendation for Ukraine’s neighbour, Moldova, to join the EU.
According to a report by Reuters, the EU’s executive Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said, “Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country’s aspiration and determination to live up to European values and standards.” She was speaking in a meeting of the College of Commissioners at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to Twitter to thank the EU members and said it is the “first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer.”
I commend the positive @EU_Commission Conclusion on ’s candidate status. It’s the 1st step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our Victory closer. Grateful to @vonderleyen & each EC member for a historic decision. I expect the positive result from #EUCO next week.
— (@ZelenskyyUa) June 17, 2022
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR UKRAINE?
Ukraine’s entry into the EU will be instrumental in ending the ongoing war with Russia. Its membership can help Ukraine militarily, as EU members are bound by a mutual defence clause that requires other members to help a country if it’s “a victim of armed aggression on its territory”.
The top priority for the EU will be to provide practical support to Ukraine to counter the Russian invasion as discussing long-term issues could take years.
Admission to the bloc would also benefit Ukraine’s economy and give it additional benefits, such as free movement throughout the EU and a variety of rights granted to EU citizens.
The bloc had previously shied away from membership discussions with Ukraine so as to not to “antagonise” Moscow. However, this stance has taken a backseat ever since Russia declared war on Ukraine.