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European Union leaders set to grant Ukraine candidate standing

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BRUSSELS — European Union leaders on Thursday are set to grant Ukraine candidate standing to hitch the 27-nation bloc, a primary step in an extended and unpredictable journey towards full membership that might take a few years to attain.

Making the war-torn nation a contender now appears to be a achieved deal after leaders had been initially divided on how briskly they might transfer to embrace the war-torn nation’s bid that was launched only some days after Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

According to a number of EU diplomats who spoke on situation of anonymity earlier than the summit in Brussels, Ukraine will obtain the unanimous approval that’s required for the launch of discussions.

The EU’s 27 nations have been united in backing Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, adopting unprecedented financial sanctions in opposition to Moscow. However, leaders had been initially divided on how rapidly the EU ought to transfer to just accept Ukraine as a member, with the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark among the many most skeptical.

But Ukraine’s bid acquired a lift final week when the EU’s government arm, the European Commission, gave its seal of approval based mostly on Ukraine’s solutions to a questionnaire obtained in April and early May.

Ukraine obtained one other shot within the arm when the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the nation and vowed to again its candidacy.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned he spoke with a complete of 11 EU leaders on Wednesday, following calls with 9 the day earlier than, in one other indication of how necessary EU candidacy is for Ukraine. He mentioned the assembly in Brussels will likely be an “historic session of the European Council.”

EU candidate status doesn’t give an automatic right to join the bloc, though, and doesn’t provide any security guarantees.

For Ukraine, the start of accession discussions will depend on how the war-torn country will be able to meet essential political and economic conditions.

To be admitted, potential newcomers need to demonstrate that they meet standards on democratic principles, and they must absorb about 80,000 pages of rules covering everything from trade and immigration to fertilizers and the rule of law.

To help countries with candidate status, the bloc can provide technical and financial assistance throughout negotiations, but can also decide to revoke the status if the required reforms aren’t implemented.

European officials have said that Ukraine has already implemented about 70% of the EU rules, norms and standards, but has also repeatedly pointed out corruption and the need for deep political and economic reforms.

It’s unlikely that accession talks could start before next year, with the prospect that the war could drag on for a very long time adding to the uncertainty.

“Considerable efforts will be needed, especially in the fight against corruption and the establishment of an effective rule of law,” Belgian Prime minister Alexander De Croo mentioned. “But I am convinced that it is precisely the (post-war) reconstruction of Ukraine that will provide opportunities to take important steps forward.”

Leaders will also debate Thursday a recommendation for the European Commission to grant Moldova — a tiny, non-NATO country that borders Ukraine — EU candidate status. The stalled enlargement process to include Western Balkans countries in the bloc is also on their agenda.

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Follow the AP’s protection of the battle at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


European Union leaders set to grant Ukraine candidate standing.
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