European Union leaders decided on Thursday to grant Ukraine and Moldova candidate status for bloc membership, offering both countries closer to their Western allies.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, wrote that this is “a historic moment. “Today marks a crucial step on your path to the EU.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote shortly after the decision that “this is a special and historic moment in our relations. Grateful to Charles Michel and EU leaders for their support. “Ukraine’s future is within the European Union.”
Ukraine applied for membership less than a week after Moscow launched aggression against it on February 24. Thursday’s decision was extremely quick for the EU and its slow approach to the enlargement process.
The European Parliament gave the green light to Ukraine’s candidacy hours before the start of the EU summit, adopting a resolution calling on bloc governments to “move without delay”.
The EU also granted candidate status to Moldova, another former Soviet republic bordering Ukraine.