European Parliament backs Ukraine and Moldova as leaders meet in Brussels | TSWT | 23.06.2022

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The European Parliament has voted to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova as leaders meet in Brussels to discuss the issue on Thursday.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said the vote was “unequivocal” and that the European Council “should grant candidate status today” to the two countries. “This will show leadership, determination and vision in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine,” she tweeted.

Ireland: “Ukraine belongs to the European family”

EU leaders are also expected to give their thoughts on Thursday as they meet to discuss whether to back the proposal, a first step in a long journey to full membership that could take up to a month. decade to materialize.

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The 27 nations of the EU have been united in support of Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, enacting unprecedented economic sanctions against Moscow.

EU leaders were initially divided on how quickly the bloc 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 European Commission gave its approval based on Kyiv’s responses to a questionnaire.

“Today the EU sends a message of solidarity to the Ukrainian people that you belong to the European family, that you belong to the EU… and that you will obtain candidate status”, said the Prime Minister Irishman Micheal Martin on his arrival at the summit.

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Nonetheless, the head of Ukraine’s presidency, Andriy Yermak, said Kyiv was “still waiting for the green light” to receive EU candidate status, adding that the goal was to achieve “full membership”.

Ukraine has expressed its determination to join the European Union since Russian troops invaded in late February, with fighting raging particularly in the east of the country.

North Macedonia and Albania still in limbo

Leaders will also debate on Thursday a recommendation to the European Commission to grant Moldova, a country bordering Ukraine, candidate status.

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Thursday’s talks will also include continued accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania, the two countries gaining candidate status in 2005 and 2014 respectively.

“For almost 20 years, the countries and citizens of the Western Balkans have been waiting for the opportunity to become members of the European Union,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said ahead of the Brussels summit.

Scholz mentioned that North Macedonia even changed its name to pursue its aspirations to join the European Union.

jsi/ko (TSWT, TSWT, dpa)

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