BRUSSELS (UKTN) — The executive arm of the European Union on Friday recommended making Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, a first step in what was expected to be a long road for the beleaguered country. the war joins the bloc of 27 nations.
The European Commission presented its proposal to grant candidate status to Ukraine after an accelerated analysis of responses to a questionnaire. The Ukrainian government applied for EU membership less than a week after Russia invaded the country.
“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” said committee chair Ursula von der Leyen. “We want them to live with us, the European dream.”
Leaders of the bloc’s current members are due to discuss the recommendation at a summit next week in Brussels. European Commission approval, while a strong sign of solidarity with Ukraine, will likely take years, if not decades, to materialize into EU membership.
The initiation of accession talks with a potential member requires the unanimous approval of all member countries. They expressed differing opinions on how quickly to add Ukraine to their ranks.
But Ukraine’s candidacy was shot in the arm on Thursday when the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the country and vowed to back Kyiv to become a official candidate.
To be admitted, potential newcomers must demonstrate that they meet EU standards on issues such as anti-corruption and democratic principles and must absorb around 80,000 pages of rules covering everything from trade and immigration to fertilizers and the rule of law.
“Yes, Ukraine deserves a European perspective. It should be welcomed as a candidate country, with the understanding that important work remains to be done,” von der Leyen said on Friday. “The whole process is merit-based. It’s true to the book, and therefore progress is entirely up to Ukraine.