European Union

Ukraine and Moldova granted EU candidate status

Moldova and Ukraine have completed another step in the journey of becoming EU member states. Photo: Shutterstock

Moldova and Ukraine have completed another step in the journey of becoming EU member states. Photo: Shutterstock

During a European Council meeting on 23 June, all 27 member states of the European Union voted for Ukraine and Moldova to receive the status of EU candidates. 

Just over three months after Ukraine submitted its application to become a member of the European Union, the European Parliament voted in favour of the Eastern European country passing on to the next step of the process to become an EU member state alongside Moldova.

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier BettelXavier Bettel (DP) shared the news in a tweet.

Four months after Ukraine was attacked by Russia on 24 February, the country was granted the candidate status, as its application was judged favourably by the European Commission on the main criteria for membership: a functional market economy, a stable democracy and respect for rule of law, as well as the ability to assume the obligations of an EU membership.

President of the European Council Charles Michel called the decision “a historic moment” while Ukrainian president Volorymyr Zelensky said he was grateful for the support of EU leaders. 

The process remains long. Croatia, the last country to join the bloc in 2013, became candidate in 2003 with negotiations taking place between 2005 and 2011. Bettel--during Zelensky’s address to the grand duchy’s chamber of deputies-- had expressed the grand duchy’s support for the country to start accession talks but reminded that “there is no accelerated procedure”.

Georgia was not made an EU candidate--despite a tentatively positive assessment by the Comission issued alongside those for Ukraine and Moldova--as leaders said it needed to fulfil certain conditions first.