European countries support Ukraine’s candidacy

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The reforms demanded of Kiev convince the most reluctant member states and pave the way for its integration into the EU

European foreign ministers on Monday paved the way for Ukraine to be considered a candidate country for accession to the European Union (EU). The fine print Brussels needs for its entry into Kiev, with sweeping reforms in the rule of law and the fight against corruption, have allayed doubts among the countries most reluctant to expand the community bloc.

The candidacy of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia is expected to be the main debate at the European summit next Thursday and Friday in Brussels. And the meeting of foreign ministers this Monday in Luxembourg served to test the position of the twenty-seven. The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, underlined the major step represented by Brussels’ positive assessment of Ukraine’s accession and described the EU’s move as “historic”.

The High Representative expects the Twenty-seven to give “clear and strong support” to the three countries and stressed that the EU has already started preparatory work for its European integration. “I have not heard any Member State against it,” he said.

Support from Italy, France, Germany and Romania was already evident during their leaders’ trip to Kiev last week. And this Monday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reiterated the importance of granting Ukraine candidate status: “It is a political, strategic and moral imperative.” In the context of the Russian invasion of the country, the French minister assured that the EU should send “a clear and positive message” to Kiev.

Member States know that the road to joining the Union is long and complicated. There are currently five candidate countries; the oldest Turkey, which has been waiting since 2004. There are also divisions among the twenty-seven over EU enlargement, a gap that appears to have been closed by the war in Ukraine. “It is a historic moment when we all need to think about what we will be in the coming years if we go in the wrong direction in this situation,” warned German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Brussels expressed itself in the same sentence last week. As European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen noted, “Ukrainians have come very close to the EU in recent years.” However, Kiev still has important reforms ahead of it. One of the most important is the launch of the anti-corruption body, in a country where the oligarchs have great influence on the political and judiciary.

It is precisely this fine print that seems to have put an end to the reluctance of the countries against EU enlargement. The Dutch chancellor, Wopke Hoekstra, welcomed the “balanced” proposal from Brussels and expected the Netherlands to support the candidacy. “It is a good proposal that points to the enormous importance of unity in this geopolitical context,” said Head of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra.

The Czech Republic also asked European leaders for “political will” to support the Ukrainian people “hungry for European values” in the war launched by Moscow. “It is a special situation and we have to take it into account, it is a political decision,” said its chancellor, Jan Lipavsky. For his part, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics emphasized the “progress of the country” in democratic reforms to move closer to Europe.

The unity of the bloc against Russia was also evident. The head of European diplomacy insisted that the Russian army prevent the departure of 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine, which is causing a major food crisis. “It is a war crime. A deliberate act to cause a global famine,” he said, calling for a ceasefire to release these foods. Borrell also pointed out that military aid to Ukraine is “guaranteed” for the duration. from the war.

Source: La Verdad

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