With full conviction, the President of the European Parliament said this afternoon that Ukraine should be awarded a candidate for EU membership. Parliament invites the European Commission and Member States to work for a candidate for Ukraine’s membership. But, what exactly does that mean?
The Parliament’s appeal should be seen first of all as an important gesture for Ukraine. Before the debate and vote, Ukrainian President Zelensky addressed Parliament from his shelter† Parliament responded to his speech by voting by a large majority a few hours later in support of Ukraine.
But the European Parliament is not currently participating in any Ukrainian accession process. President Zelensky took the country’s first step into the war by sending a formal application for EU membership to Brussels yesterday.
It is now up to the 27 EU countries to decide whether Ukraine can become a member. It must be a unanimous decision. And while a number of countries hope a decision will be made soon, it will likely take some time. In the coming period, a roadmap must first be drawn up with the changes that Ukraine must implement in order to become a member of the European Union. Only then will the EU member states make a decision.
More countries in the waiting room
If Ukraine is then an official candidate for EU membership, it will be years before it actually joins. Countries like North Macedonia and Serbia have had this status for years, but it does not look like they will become members of the European Union in the short term. Turkey has been waiting the longest to get EU membership. The country became an official candidate for membership in 1999, but more than 20 years later, it is not yet close to accession.
A candidate member must fulfill a number of very important conditions before he can truly join the European Union. For example, the rule of law must be sound and the economy must grow stably. Because of the war with Russia, it doesn’t look like Ukraine will be able to meet these terms in any way anytime soon.
What do the countries of the European Union say?
Eight countries, including Poland and the Baltic states, want to allow Ukraine to follow an accelerated procedure to join the European Union. However, it is practically impossible for this to happen. France and Germany have already indicated that they do not immediately support this. Holland also does not want such a special road. According to Prime Minister Rutte, discussion of membership is currently undesirable as it does not help “in the settlement of this conflict”.
The European Union will want to make a gesture. It is expected that this will not be prolonged in the future. The situation in Ukraine changes every hour. As long as President Zelensky is in power, the European Union will do everything in its power to support him.
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