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EU decides to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova

European Union leaders gather for a summit in Brussels on June 23. (Johanna Geron/Reuters)

The European Union summit to discuss whether to grant candidate status to Ukraine has begun in Brussels.

All 27 EU leaders are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss EU membership applications from Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia as well as current economic issues the EU is facing.

Last Friday, the European Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen announced the Commission’s opinion to recommend Ukraine as a member state in the EU, stating that Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective. 

On arrival, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte commended the European Commission’s “thorough assessment” of Ukraine’s application to join the European Union. 

“The worry we had was that the Commission would rush into candidate states. I must say that Ursula Von der Leyen came up with a very balanced outcome of talks with Zelensky … I must say, I was mistaken. They really gave us a very thorough and fair assessment,” Rutte remarked on Thursday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also told reporters that this decision will also serve as “an appeal to achieve progress in the perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans,” saying Germany will “actively support” efforts to help the nations of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro , Kosovo and Serbia to implement an accession perspective soon.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda told reporters that displays of political support for Ukraine are “very important for the fighting spirit of Ukrainians,” calling his country a “keen supporter of the candidate status for Ukraine.”

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