On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the decision of the EU to recognize Ukraine as a contender for admission as a triumph and vowed to keep working until Russia was defeated and full membership had been achieved.
In a daring geopolitical step praised by both Ukraine and the EU as a historic occasion, European Union leaders formally accepted Ukraine as a contender to join the 27-nation organization.
In a brief video that was uploaded to his Instagram feed, a beaming Zelenskiy declared, “This is a win,” emphasizing that Ukraine had waited 30 years for this. He remarked in a quiet voice, “We can beat the enemy, reconstruct Ukraine, join the EU, and then we can rest.
“Or maybe we won’t sleep at all because our kids would be offended. But there’s no question that we’ll prevail.”
Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, declared that Kyiv would promptly carry out the strategy required for accession discussions to start.
A daring geopolitical move hailed as a “momentous occasion” by Kyiv and the EU itself, European Union leaders on Thursday gave Ukraine the prized position of the official candidate to enter their 27-nation club.
The EU’s decision to formally admit Ukraine as a member is a sign of its ambition to expand throughout the former Soviet Union, even if it may take Ukraine more than ten years to actually join the club.
“The European race includes the inhabitants of Ukraine. The EU is where Ukraine’s future lies, “Josep Borrell, the head of international strategy for the union, stated. “We will travel a great distance together, and today is the first step on that adventure.”
Following Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Kyiv formally asked for candidate status, and the EU expedited its acceptance.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, declared on Twitter that “Ukraine’s future is in the EU” and praised the vote as “a unique and historical occasion.”
Moldova, a neighbor of Ukraine, received candidate status six years to the day after Britons chose to quit the EU, and Georgia, some other ex-Soviet member, was informed that it would receive the same after meeting additional requirements.
EU leaders emphasized that these nations will have a lot of “homework” to do and that the group may need to adjust how it operates to handle its most aggressive growth since the post-Cold War enlargement of Eastern European states.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU Commission, said at a news conference: “I am certain that they (Ukraine and Moldova) will move as rapidly as feasible and work just as hard as they can to execute the required reforms.
According to Ukraine’s EU envoy, Vsevolod Chentsov, the EU’s approval “is a message to Moscow that Ukraine, as well as other countries from the former Soviet Union, cannot adhere to the Russian areas of influence.”
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, claims that Western intrusion into what Russia views as its proper geographical area of influence was a contributing factor in the need to conduct his “special military operation” in Ukraine in late February.
Behind the jubilant rhetoric on the awarding of candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, there is anxiety within the EU regarding how the bloc can maintain coherence as it grows.
The European Union (EU), which was founded in 1951 as a group of six nations to control industrial production, today has 27 members and is confronted with complicated issues including climate change, China’s growth, and a conflict right in their own backyard.
Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, stated this week that the EU needs to “change its internal rules” in order to be ready for the admission of new members, highlighting the requirement that important decisions be made by a qualified majority rather than by unanimity.
Because member states have the power to veto or weaken decisions, the necessity for unanimity frequently hampers EU goals.
Frustrations Of Balkans
A group of Balkan nations, including Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia, where leaders met with EU equivalents in Brussels previously in the day, have seen their progress toward membership hampered by hesitation over EU enlargement.
“Welcome to Ukraine, it’s a nice thing to provide official recognition, but I trust the Ukrainian people will not have any delusions about this,” the prime minister of Albania, Edi Rama, remarked as he came to the conference to vent their displeasure.
According to a draught of the meeting statement, EU leaders would once more pledge their “full and unambiguous support to the Western Balkans’ viewpoint on EU membership.”
The EU runs the risk that Russia and China will strengthen their dominance in the Balkan region as a result of Ukraine’s quick transition to official candidate status, which has only served to exacerbate their sense of marginalization.
A survey released this week revealed that support for EU membership is at a 15-year high, notwithstanding the union having been shaken in recent times by the migrant crisis and Brexit.
However, as Russia restricts gas reserves in reaction to penalties placed over its activities in Ukraine, public unhappiness about inflation and an energy crisis is growing. These problems will be tackled on Friday during the second day of the summit.