The President of the European Council “confident” on Kyiv’s candidacy for the EU

On Thursday, European Union leaders are expected to grant Ukraine candidate status to join the 27-nation bloc, a first step in a long and unpredictable journey to full membership that could take many years.

Making the war-torn country a contender now appears to be a done deal after leaders were initially split over how quickly they could move to embrace the war-torn country’s bid which was launched just days later. that Russia launched its invasion on February 24. .

According to several EU diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the Brussels summit, Ukraine will receive the unanimous approval required to start talks.

The 27 EU countries have united in backing Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion, passing unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow. However, leaders were initially divided on how quickly the EU should accept Ukraine as a member, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark among the most skeptical.

But Ukraine’s bid received a boost last week when the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, gave its stamp of approval based on Ukraine’s responses to a questionnaire received in April and early May.

Ukraine received another shot in the arm when the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the country and vowed to support its candidacy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke to a total of 11 EU leaders on Wednesday, following calls with nine the previous day, in another indication of the importance of the bid for the EU. EU for Ukraine. He said the Brussels meeting will be a “historic session of the European Council”.

However, EU candidate status does not automatically grant the right to join the bloc and does not provide any guarantees of security.

For Ukraine, the start of accession talks will depend on how well the war-torn country is able to fulfill essential political and economic conditions.

To be admitted, would-be newcomers must show they meet standards on democratic principles, and they must digest around 80,000 pages of rules covering everything from trade and immigration to fertilizers and the rule of law. .

To help countries with candidate status, the bloc can provide technical and financial assistance throughout the negotiations, but can also decide to revoke status if required reforms are not implemented.

EU officials said Ukraine had already implemented around 70% of EU rules, norms and standards, but also repeatedly pointed to corruption and the need for deep political and economic reforms.

It is unlikely that membership talks can start before next year, the prospect that the war could drag on for a very long time adds to the uncertainty.

“Considerable efforts will be needed, particularly in the fight against corruption and the establishment of an effective rule of law,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. “But I am convinced that it is precisely the (post-war) reconstruction of Ukraine that will provide opportunities for making important steps forward.”

Leaders will also debate on Thursday a recommendation to the European Commission to grant Moldova – a small non-NATO country that borders Ukraine – EU candidate status. The stalled enlargement process to include the Western Balkan countries in the bloc is also on their agenda.

Associated press

Previous MCCC - Kelsey Theater presents the delightful musical "Oliver!" the weekends of July 8
Next Daytime Emmys Returns to Live Show, 'Y&R' Leads Names