Prime Minister Rutte will also agree on behalf of the Netherlands. For weeks, the Netherlands raised all kinds of objections to the granting of candidate status to Ukraine.
Root: “I was wrong.”
“I was somewhat concerned that the European Commission would speed up its assessment of Ukraine and its advice on the status of the candidate,” Rutte said. “I have to say: I was wrong.” According to him, the commission was not spared from Ukraine and “a strict, honest, ruthless judgment.”
Only when Ukraine fulfills a number of conditions related to corruption and democracy can the process begin.
“It was out of the question six months ago,” says political reporter Vons Lambie. “Certainly for the Netherlands and Rutte personally, this is a major turning point. The Hague believed that the EU was already big enough and that Ukraine was not suitable. Rutte explicitly stated in a statement that the Association Agreement was not a stepping stone for EU membership. But with many European countries having Wishing to grant Ukraine this status, The Hague agreed though.”
North Macedonia and Albania
As for the other candidate members, the EU has less optimistic signals. North Macedonia and Albania have been candidates for EU membership for many years, but have not yet been allowed to start accession negotiations in preparation for membership. Bulgaria will hold back North Macedonia as long as its small neighbor does not treat the Bulgarian minority properly, according to Sofia, and lead to Bulgaria dominating in history lessons.
The EU does not want Albania to continue without North Macedonia, which already meets EU conditions better than Albania. Pressure on Bulgaria to end its resistance increased with the candidacies of Ukraine and Moldova. Many countries fear that the Balkan countries that have been waiting for EU membership for some time will be disappointed and bitter if they see the union giving way to newcomers.
Angry Balkan countries
The Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovashevsky, did not hide his anger after six countries from the Western Balkans met with European Union leaders. “I expressed my dissatisfaction with the procedure, which has been going on for nearly eighteen years,” he said. The country applied for EU membership on March 22, 2004. “Negotiations have not started yet due to the embargo imposed on one country. This is a serious blow to the credibility of the European Union.”
His Albanian counterpart Edi Rama spoke of a “hostage” by Bulgaria. He described a NATO country’s stance against two other NATO members during a war in Europe as “outrageous”.
“So how much hope is in Ukraine, that much anger you hear in the Balkans who think they’ve been tied up for years. It also shows that candidate membership doesn’t mean you’ll become a member quickly,” says Lampi. “Today a step is being taken towards a larger European Union in the future, but it could take years to get there.”
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