Inside Scoop – EU countries endorse Ukraine and Moldova as official candidates to join bloc

Celebrations erupted in Kyiv as EU countries endorse Ukraine. Ukraine and Moldova have been granted official European Union candidate status, after being endorsed by the bloc’s 27 leaders during a summit in Brussels.

Moldova was also granted candidate status while Georgia was left on the waiting list, pending reforms to ensure the country’s political stability.

Several other EU leaders took to social media to hail the moment. There have been many celebrations but in reality, nothing has changed for Ukraine, or has it?

EU countries endorse Ukraine

President Zelenskyy “sincerely” commended the decision and said, “Ukraine’s future is within the EU.” He then joined the summit virtually to speak with the heads of state and government.

But there is that look between Macron and Zelenskyy that shows not everything is above water and Ukraine will have to announce several concessions in its war in order to gain full membership.

Germany is on the verge of rationing gas and France has supplies until the end of the year, this is as much for the EU & Russian relations as it is for Ukraine.

European Council President Charles Michel called it “a historic moment”.

“Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” he said.

Michel congratulated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Moldovan President Maia Sandu and added “our future is together.”

EU leaders to back Ukraine as candidate at Brussels summit
EU leaders to back Ukraine as candidate at Brussels summit

In reality, nothing has changed for Ukraine

Candidate status is a largely symbolic designation that recognises the selected country is on track to begin the lengthy, complex and often tortuous accession process. This has led many EU analysts to say in reality, nothing has changed for Ukraine.

The candidacy doesn’t automatically guarantee the start of negotiations, let alone their conclusion. Many countries can testify to that.

Over the recent decades, Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey were all granted EU candidate status, with very limited progress towards becoming members.

Criteria for Ukraine to join the EU

The European Commission has put forward seven key reforms that Ukraine needs to carry out before the end of the year. In order to be a viable candidate, Ukraine must fight the corruption that has riddled the country.

In fact, the criteria for Ukraine to join the EU is quite stringent, with just over six months to make the changes, Ukraine must find a solution to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The Timeline is critical to the process.

The list includes the appointment of judges for the Constitutional Court, the fight against corruption and money laundering, the protection of national minorities and the implementation of a law meant to curb the excessive influence of oligarchs in the economy.

Accession is divided into 35 chapters and grouped into six main clusters: fundamentals; internal markets; competitiveness and inclusive growth; green agenda and sustainable connectivity; resources, agriculture and cohesion; and external relations.

The European Commission has already warned that the entire process is merit-based and can be “reversed if the underlying conditions are not met anymore.”

The EU grants Ukraine candidate status with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv
The EU grants Ukraine candidate status

Joining the EU requirements

According to the EU, any country that satisfies the conditions for membership can apply.

These conditions are known as the ‘Copenhagen criteria‘ and include a functioning market economy, a stable democracy and the rule of law, and the acceptance of all EU legislation, including the European single currency, The Euro.

Joining the EU is a very robust and tough process, you have to assimilate to the fiscal policy of the EU without support. Additionally, the country must also execute a fiduciary monetary policy to comply with the EU bloc’s demands.

Turkey received the title back in December 1999. the EU has a habit of granting EU status during periods of conflict or just after and in most cases, it does not develop into full membership.

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