Ukraine Edges Ever Closer to Joining the European Union
The European Union agreed Thursday to put Ukraine on a path toward EU membership, acting with uncharacteristic speed and unity to pull the embattled country further away from Russia’s influence and bind it more closely to the West.
Meeting at a summit in Brussels, leaders of the EU’s 27 nations mustered the required unanimous approval to grant Ukraine candidate status. That sets in motion a membership process that could take years or even decades.
Ukraine applied for EU membership less than a week after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24th. Thursday’s decision was unusually rapid for the EU and its go-slow approach to expansion. To gain EU membership, countries must meet a detailed host of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles. Ukraine will have to curb entrenched government corruption and adopt other reforms. But the war and Ukraine’s request for fast-track consideration lent urgency to the cause. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his gratitude and declared: “Ukraine’s future is within the EU.”
Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision at #EUCO to grant 🇺🇦 a candidate status. It’s a unique and historical moment in 🇺🇦-🇪🇺 relations. Grateful to @CharlesMichel, @vonderleyen and EU leaders for support. Ukraine’s future is within the EU. #EmbraceUkraine https://t.co/o6dJVmTQrn
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 23, 2022
“It’s a victory. We have been waiting for 120 days and 30 years,” Zelenskyy said on Instagram, referring to the duration of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent upon the breakup of the Soviet Union. “And now we will defeat the enemy.”
As all Ukrainians, I am now celebrating our big geopolitical victory: EU candidate status. Want to congratulate us? #MLRS & other heavy arms would be an excellent present 💪. #ArmUkraineNow so we win on a battlefield & in a few years we’ll turn Ukraine into a role model democracy pic.twitter.com/IVjNR8cXNu
— Olena Halushka (@OlenaHalushka) June 23, 2022
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pronounced it a “good day for Europe.” The European Parliament endorsed Ukraine’s bid hours before the summit started, passing a resolution that called on EU governments to “move without delay.”
Ukraine 🇺🇦 and Moldova 🇲🇩 have officially became EU candidate countries!
27 EU leaders have supported this decision! Thank you! 🇪🇺🇪🇺🇪🇺
— Oleksiy Sorokin (@mrsorokaa) June 23, 2022