The European Commission (EC) plans to recommend granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova as a symbolic step forward in the long process of joining the European Union, Bloomberg reports, citing sources.
EC is set to issue its opinion on June 17 and will impose conditions that these countries will have to meet in the future on the rule of law, justice and anti-corruption. The commission is also expected to recommend granting candidate status to Georgia once it meets specific conditions.
"The achievement would be significant for the three countries, particularly for Ukraine as it looks for moral support in fending off Russian aggression." Bloomberg reports. The final decision to grant the status will have to be approved by all 27 EU member states. The membership procedure itself is a process that includes an arduous set of steps and conditions that can normally last several years. Croatia was the last country to join the EU and its application process lasted 10 years. At the moment three countries of the Western Balkans have been waiting for more than 10 years to join the EU.
Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France’sPresident Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, June 16, gave Ukraine’s prospects a significant boost when they heartily endorsed the membership bid on a visit to Kyiv, "reversing earlier hesitation in Paris and Berlin." They were joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
"The biggest message we want to send in this trip is that Italy wants Ukraine in the EU," Draghi said in Kyiv. "Italy, France and Germany are here to give unconditional support to Ukraine."
The bloc’s leaders are set to discuss the matter in Brussels on June 23-24. Backing by member states is not a done deal as some governments, including Denmark and the Netherlands, have previously expressed reservations to granting the status. But with the bloc’s biggest members now on board, it will be difficult for others to block the decision, Bloomberg believes.