The Heads of State and Government of the 27 EU countries decided on Thursday to follow the Commission’s advice and grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidate countries for membership. This political decision, which will still have to be formalized, was taken at the summit organized in Brussels.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced the expected news on Twitter.
In the minutes that followed, the President of the European Council Charles Michel confirmed it. This is a “historic moment”, added the Belgian. This day “marks a crucial step on your way to the EU”.
Georgia, which had officially applied for membership on the same day as Moldova, will also have candidate status when certain priorities have been settled, added Charles Michel. The European Council “recognizes its European perspective”.
A “very strong signal vis-à-vis Russia”, according to Macron
The decision taken Thursday by the Twenty-Seven is a “very strong signal vis-à-vis Russia”, estimated French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Macron, whose country holds the half-yearly presidency of the Council of the EU, welcomed “a political gesture” of “a strong and united Europe”, during a press conference in Brussels.
“We have advanced by leaps and bounds,” said the French president.
“All of this we owe to the Ukrainian people who are fighting to defend our values, their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, we also owe it to Moldova given its political situation, the destabilization it is undergoing and the generosity she was able to demonstrate,” continued Emmanuel Macron.
“The process that is embarking on will be demanding,” he warned.
In addition, the Heads of State and Government of the EU granted “a European perspective” to Georgia, which will still have to carry out reforms before obtaining this status.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed “a major moment, a very good day for Europe”.
This decision “strengthens us all”, “it strengthens Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the face of Russian aggression”, she judged.