EU Grants Ukraine Candidate Status

The European Council agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova during an EU summit on Thursday. The news was broken by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

“European Council has granted the status of candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova. Historic moment and a signal of hope for the Ukranian (sic) people,” Bettel tweeted.

Earlier in the day, the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed a proposal to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Last week, Kiev’s bid was supported by the EU Commission.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo signaled that granting Ukraine EU-candidate status was an important “symbolic message” to support Kiev amid its ongoing conflict with Russia. Actual EU membership, however, is still “many years” away and the country must meet European standards first, he explained.

“This does not mean that Ukraine will soon be part of the European Union. It is a process of many years with a lot of reforms which will be very difficult and, for us, it is very important to give a strong symbolic signal,” De Croo stated.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the EU’s decision to grant the country candidate status, calling the development a “unique and historic” moment.

“Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision at [the European Council summit] to grant Ukraine a candidate status. It’s a unique and historical moment in Ukraine-EU relations,” Zelensky tweeted.

Reporting from RT News.