Josep Borrell, EU Chief of Foreign Policy, said that he hopes the country will be granted the EU Candidat status later in the week. “historic.”
The statement came after a briefing with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmirty Kuleba on Tuesday, on Kiev’s conflict with Russia.
In a tweet, Borrell expressed the EU’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine for “as long as it takes”. During a summit in Brussels, the European Council will be reviewing both Ukraine’s bid to become a candidate and Georgia’s on Thursday and Friday.
Ukraine’s long-term goal of EU membership has been recognized by its Constitution. After Russia attacked Ukraine in 2014, integration requests have been reenergized. Kiev officials claim their country is worthy to become a member of the European Economic bloc in order to defend it. “Russian aggression.”
The leaders of France, Italy, Germany and Romania visited Kiev last week and supported Ukraine’s application for the status as a candidate. Last week, also the European Commission approved.
The step, if realized, would not always lead to full integration. Turkey is a candidate country since 1987 when it applied for membership in the European Economic Community (EEC), an precursor to the EU.
Skeptics believe Ukraine is not ready for the task and faces serious challenges with crime and rule of law.
Russia has sent mixed messages about its attitude towards Ukraine’s possible EU accession. Moscow had earlier accused Kiev that it was becoming more involved in international military affairs than regional economic integration. However, President Vladimir Putin said this week that Russia wouldn’t object.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German protocols were created to confer special status on the territories within the Ukrainian government.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.
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