EU Parliament rules on candidate status for Ukraine — Analysis

The motion in support of Kiev’s bid preceded the European Council summit, where EU leaders are expected to make the decision

The majority of MEPs support the granting Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia EU-candidate status. The vote came ahead of the European Council summit later on Thursday and Friday, which is expected to decide whether to accept the three EU hopefuls’ bids.

The resolution was approved by 529 of the European Parliament members, 45 opposed and 14 abstained during Thursday’s vote.

On Wednesday, there was a plenary session, and then a press release, in which the government argued for the bestowment the highly-coveted status upon the three countries.

In light of Putin’s aggression and the commitment shown by the Ukrainian, Moldovan, and Georgian peoples towards their European future, an overwhelming majority of MEPs called on the EU’s leaders to open the path to accession for all three countries,” the document read.

However, the statement pointed out that several MEPs have stressed the need for continued reforms in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Other MEPs noted that these three nations would have to wait a long time before becoming EU members.

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The European Parliament’s resolutions are non-binding. And while both a majority of MEPs and the European Commission have thrown their weight behind Ukraine’s bid, the final say rests with the heads of state and government of all 27 EU member states.

This Thursday’s European Council summit begins and will continue until Friday. These leaders will give their opinions on the eligibility of three countries, which includes Ukraine, to be candidates.

Kiev applied for EU membership late February. This was days after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Early March saw Georgia and Moldova follow suit.

Several media outlets had previously claimed that a few member states had initially opposed Ukraine’s bid. French President Emmanuel Macron had warned Ukraine and the other hopefuls that EU membership could be decades away for them, and even suggested creating a “European political community” as an alternative.

Since the European Commission’s opinion was made public last Friday, however, statements by individual members have changed. Talk of consensus regarding the Ukrainian candidacy has been the dominant theme in the recent days.

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