Ukraine’s bid to join the E.U. received a boost Friday after the bloc’s executive arm recommended that the embattled country deserves to become a candidate for membership.
The endorsement by the European Commission (EC) sends a strong signal of solidarity with Ukraine following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 full-scale invasion of the country. The next step is for the leaders of all 27 E.U. member states to consider the recommendation at a meeting scheduled for June 23-24.
“Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on the decision. “This is on the understanding that good work has been done but important work remains to be done. The entire process is merit-based, so it goes by the book and progress depends entirely on Ukraine. So it is Ukraine that has it in its hands.”
The decision comes a day after the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and Romania became the latest of many global leaders to meet in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who described it as a “truly historic” day. “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow there will also be a lot of news for Ukraine, and I believe that it will be positive,” he said.
And given that Ukraine’s drift toward Europe and prospective membership of NATO is what kicked off Putin’s aggression, the EC’s decision represents yet another owngoal for the autocrat.
“The thing that Putin really has to worry about is the E.U., rather than NATO,” Robert Hunter, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, tells TIME. “NATO is never going to attack anybody, but the E.U. creates a standard that makes Russia look stupid. What Putin is really worried about is contagion. Because he saw contagion …read more
Source:: Time – World