EU summit – Council chief expects candidate status for Ukraine

EU Council President Charles Michel assumes that the EU summit in Brussels will make Ukraine and Moldova accession candidates. “I am confident that we will grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova today,” he told a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday. Michel spoke of a “historic moment on a geopolitical level”.

The status as an EU accession candidate is a prerequisite for the accession negotiations to be able to start at a later point in time. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo also campaigned for a positive vote and spoke of a “strong signal to Ukraine” in the Russian war of aggression. However, the accession process will “take a long time”.

Group photo from the summit: Micheal Martin, Emmanuel Macron, Charles Michel, Victor Orban, Aleksandar Vucic, Alexander De Croo, Mark Rutte, Kaja Kallas, Robert Abela (from left to right).

– © reuters / Yves Herman

Berlin for a “yes”

In his government statement in Berlin on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also advocated a “yes” from all 27 EU countries. He also calls for internal EU reforms and progress in the Western Balkans’ accession process. The EU leaders will meet with them in the morning for a separate summit before the regular European Council should begin in the afternoon.

Albanian President Edi Rama welcomed the planned accession prospects for Ukraine. “But the Ukrainian people should not be under any illusions,” he warned. Albania has had candidate status for eight years. Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) warned several times in advance of unequal treatment of Ukraine with the states of the Western Balkans. In particular, he demanded that the EU also grant candidate status to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia refrained from boycotting the Western Balkans summit at the last minute on Wednesday. The reason was Bulgaria’s ongoing veto of EU talks with North Macedonia, which is also blocking the start of negotiations with Albania.

Large Majority

Shortly before the summit, the European Parliament also called for Ukraine and Moldova to be recognized as EU accession candidates. A large majority of MEPs called on the heads of state and government of the member countries in a non-binding resolution on Thursday to “grant candidate country status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova without delay” at their summit in Brussels.

Georgia should also be granted this status as soon as the government meets certain criteria specified by the European Commission. At the same time, the European Parliament emphasized that “there is no accelerated procedure for membership in the EU” and that accession “still” is a process that depends on the “implementation of reforms”.

The European Parliament has no institutional role in the accession negotiations, as the negotiations are conducted by the member states at the suggestion of the EU Commission. However, the respective accession treaties must then also be ratified by the European Parliament. Austrian MEPs such as Lukas Mandl (ÖVP), Andreas Schieder (SPÖ), Thomas Waitz (Greens) and Claudia Gamon (NEOS) made positive comments on the prospects for Ukraine and Moldova in broadcasts on Thursday, but at the same time insisted on progress in the EU rapprochement of the six Western Balkan countries. (apa, afp, dpa)

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