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European Commission to recommend granting Ukraine status of EU candidate country — media

The European Commission (EC) will insist on granting Ukraine the status of an EU candidate member, the final decision remains with the European Council, Politico reports.

The debate on this issue in the College of Commissioners took place on June 13, following a June 11 visit by EC President Ursula von der Leyen to Kyiv, where she discussed Ukraine's membership bid with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials have pleaded for official recognition as an EU candidate country. They believed that it would provide an incalculably precious wartime morale boost, the article reads.

Officials familiar with the debate among commissioners said there was keen awareness of the sacrifices made by Ukrainians and clear recognition of the need to send a strong message to Putin that he has lost any chance of reclaiming Ukraine into his supposed sphere of influence.

"The Commission does not forget that Ukraine is the only country in Europe where people died, where people were shot at because they were on the streets carrying EU flags. Now, we cannot tell them, ‘sorry guys, you were waving the wrong flags,'" Politico quotes its source as saying.

In discussions about candidate status for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, many have noted the "sensitivity" of this issue given the slow pace of accession for Western Balkan countries, which were declared candidates 10 years ago.

According to a source close to the French authorities, candidate status, if granted, would be just the start of a far long process.

Recognizing Ukraine as a candidate country ultimately requires the unanimous approval of the 27 heads of state and government on the European Council, who are expected to take up the question at a summit meeting in Brussels next week. Officials and diplomats said that at least three countries were still opposed.

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