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European Union Makes Ukraine a Candidate for EU Membership | Enterprise Information

By SAMUEL PETREQUIN and MIKE CORDER, Related Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union agreed Thursday to place Ukraine on a path towards EU membership, performing with uncharacteristic velocity and unity to drag the embattled nation additional away from Russia’s affect and bind it extra intently to the West.

Assembly at a summit in Brussels, leaders of the EU’s 27 nations mustered the required unanimous approval to grant Ukraine candidate standing. That units in movement a membership course of that would take years and even many years.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his gratitude and declared: “Ukraine’s future is inside the EU.”

“It’s a victory. Now we have been ready for 120 days and 30 years,” he stated on Instagram, referring to the length of the struggle and the many years since Ukraine grew to become unbiased upon the breakup of the Soviet Union. “And now we'll defeat the enemy.”

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European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen pronounced it a “good day for Europe.”

The EU additionally gave candidate standing to the tiny nation of Moldova, one other former Soviet republic that borders Ukraine.

Ukraine utilized for membership lower than every week after Moscow invaded on Feb. 24. Thursday’s choice was unusually speedy for the EU and its go-slow strategy to growth. However the struggle and Ukraine’s request for fast-track consideration lent urgency to the nation's trigger.

To realize EU membership, international locations should meet an in depth host of financial and political circumstances, together with a dedication to the rule of regulation and different democratic ideas. Ukraine should curb entrenched authorities corruption and undertake different reforms.

The European Parliament endorsed Ukraine's bid hours earlier than the summit began, passing a decision that known as on EU governments to “transfer directly” and “dwell as much as their historic duty.”

“It should strengthen Ukraine, it is going to strengthen Europe. It's a choice for freedom and democracy and places us on the fitting facet of historical past,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola stated forward of the ultimate choice.

The EU nations have been united in backing Ukraine in its struggle in opposition to Russia's invasion with cash and weapons, adopting unprecedented financial sanctions in opposition to the Kremlin.

EU candidate standing does not give an computerized proper to hitch the bloc and does not present any instant safety ensures.

As soon as a rustic positive factors membership, nonetheless, it's coated underneath an EU treaty clause that claims if a member falls sufferer to armed aggression, the opposite EU international locations are obligated to help it by all of the means of their energy.

The principle advantages of EU membership, although, are financial, because it provides entry to a market of 450 million customers with free motion of labor, items, providers and capital.

Ukraine has lengthy aspired to hitch NATO, too, however the army alliance isn't about to supply an invite, partially due to governmental corruption, shortcomings within the nation's protection institution, and its contested borders.

Earlier than the struggle, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that Ukraine by no means be allowed to hitch NATO, which he has condemned for its eastward unfold towards Russia's flank. However earlier this month, he didn't appear bothered by Ukraine's dedication to get nearer to the EU, saying it isn't a army pact and thus “we've no objections.”

The EU's leaders additionally additionally agreed Thursday to acknowledge a “European perspective” for one more former Soviet republic, Georgia. European Council President Charles Michel stated the EU might be able to approve its candidate standing as soon as “excellent priorities” are addressed.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, whose nation has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine's European aspirations for years, stated on Twitter: “It is a nice second for Europe’s unity and for the protection of its fundamental values. The wrestle for freedom goes on.”

The membership course of might be lengthy and tortuous.

Turkey, for instance, utilized for membership in 1987, obtained candidate standing in 1999, and needed to wait till 2005 to begin talks for precise entry. Solely certainly one of greater than 30 negotiating “chapters” has been accomplished within the years since, and the entire course of is at a standstill on account of varied disputes between the EU and Turkey.

Equally, a number of Balkan international locations have been looking for with out success for a few years to hitch the EU.

European officers have stated that Ukraine has already adopted about 70% of the EU guidelines and requirements, however additionally they have pointed to corruption and the necessity for deep political and financial reforms within the nation.

“Appreciable efforts might be wanted, particularly within the struggle in opposition to corruption and the institution of an efficient rule of regulation,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated. “However I'm satisfied that it's exactly the (postwar) reconstruction of Ukraine that may present alternatives to take vital steps ahead.”

Comply with the AP’s protection of the struggle at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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