President of the European Council Charles Michel center gestures next to France's President Emmanuel Macron and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen right during a press conference in Brussels on June 23, 2022. JOHN THYS AFP BRUSSELS EU leaders have accepted Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for membership of the bloc, European Council President Charles Michel said on Thursday.
There is an agreement. EUCO has decided on EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova. Michel announced on Twitter that it was a historic moment. EU leaders in Brussels are currently attending the European Council, which is called the EUCO.
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The heads of state and government of the EU member states approved the recommendation of the European Commission at the beginning of their two-day summit in Brussels from Thursday to Friday.
Ukraine applied for membership in the EU shortly after the conflict with Russia began in the end of February.
The application was handed over to the country on February 28. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the decision as a unique and historic moment in Ukraine-EU, as he thanked EU leaders for their support.
According to EU criteria, the EU candidate countries would have to meet the accession conditions to be able to join the bloc, including issues relating to justice, anti-corruption mechanisms and rule of law.
Diplomats say that it will take Ukraine a decade or more to meet the criteria for joining the EU.
But European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was convinced that Ukraine and Moldova will move as quickly as possible to implement necessary reforms.
Georgia applied for EU membership on the same day with Moldova, but the European Commission said earlier last week that Georgia's application would be re-examined at a later stage when further reforms will be made.
Michel said that the EU leaders had also decided to recognize the European perspective of Georgia, and that the council was ready to grant candidate status once the outstanding priorities are addressed. He wrote that Georgia's future lies within the EU. A historic moment in EU-Georgia relations.