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Broad support among EU countries for Ukraine’s candidacy

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The countries of the European Union showed broad support for Ukraine’s candidacy for the European Union on Monday and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, was convinced that the heads of state and the Government will approve it at this week’s summit.

“I cannot anticipate the result, but I have not heard anyone oppose it,” said Borrell upon arrival at the meeting that the EU foreign ministers are holding today in Luxembourg, the first meeting between the Twenty-seven since the Community Executive published its report calling for the candidacy of Ukraine.

The head of European diplomacy assured that “it is a very important step and a clear message that the EU is prepared to support and accept the neighbors to join us”, referring also to Moldova, for whom Brussels also recommends grant candidate country status.

The German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, expressed herself along the same lines, assuring that “we are facing a historic moment” in which “everyone must be aware that these days there is a special responsibility of each EU country”.

“I am convinced that we now have a responsibility to make it clear” to the Ukrainians that “you belong to Europe, that we thank you for defending European values,” Baerbock continued, stressing at the same time that “logically” the accession process is ” hard”.

Brussels recommended the European candidacy for kyiv in exchange for advancing judicial independence, combating corruption and organized crime, applying the law that limits the power of influence of Russian oligarchs and guaranteeing equality for the country’s minorities.

In case Ukraine does not carry out these reforms, the European Commission could reverse its decision.

Germany, France and Italy support Ukraine’s candidacy, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made clear during his visit to kyiv this week; French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

“We believe that it is convenient to immediately agree on the status of candidate for Ukraine and Moldova,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said today.

In addition, from the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe, always favorable to the entry of the former Soviet republics, the head of Dutch diplomacy, Wopke Hoekstra, also gave his approval.

“Considering the war, considering what is happening in Europe, unity is the most important thing and that is why we think that the Commission’s proposal is balanced and that the Dutch government will support it,” Hoekstra said.

Germany, Austria and Slovenia also called for progress in the process of enlargement of the Western Balkans and to allow negotiations to start with Albania and North Macedonia, whose process is currently blocked by Bulgaria because it demands that Skopje recognize that it has a history, an identity and a language common with Sofia.

The European leaders will hold a summit next Thursday with the countries of the Western Balkans in which, according to several diplomatic sources, the opening of negotiations with these two countries could be approved.

Georgia is in a different situation, for whom Brussels did not endorse the candidacy that it requested together with Ukraine and Moldova, since it asks for reforms to solve its political crisis first.

“A few weeks ago no one could have imagined an opinion anchoring Georgia to the European path. Now it has to fulfill a program, now it has a calendar, clear objectives (…) Therefore, let’s get to work,” said Borrell.


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