Commission and Presidency both optimistic that Ukraine and Moldova will be on path towards membership

After the argument about sanctions on Russia final time they met, there’s optimism that EU leaders can agree this time about letting Ukraine and Moldova start the lengthy journey to EU membership. They are additionally prone to agree that Georgia shouldn’t be fairly able to take step one nevertheless it’s the international locations within the Western Balkans which might be changing into impatient, writes Political Editor Nick Powell.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was in lyrical temper in her pre-summit handle to the European Parliament. “History is on the march,” she stated, making it clear that she wasn’t simply speaking concerning the battle for Ukraine but additionally “the wind of change that is blowing across our continent”.

It was a wind blowing east, the place “the path of democracy is the road that will lead to Europe”. Ukraine was described by the Commission President as a “very robust and resilient democracy”, with free and honest elections and an energetic and dynamic civil society.

Ursula von der Leyen recalled the Maidan protests in 2014 that set Ukraine on its course to democracy and making use of for EU membership -and set Russia on its course to conflict. Ukraine had been a rustic the place individuals had been shot for wrapping themselves in European flags as a result of they’d “Europe in their hearts”.

Her solely message of powerful like to a rustic at conflict was that its anti-corruption our bodies wanted to flex their muscle tissues. But Ukraine deserved a European perspective and candidate standing, on the understanding that reforms will likely be carried out.

Moldova too had the potential for EU membership, “provided its leaders stay the course -and I have no doubt about that”. Georgia although could possibly be granted a European perspective however not candidate standing till there was broader political help in Tbilisi for the required political reforms.

President von der Leyen claimed that the Commission had taken a merit-based strategy to the three purposes. The European establishments had all the time welcomed ‘young democracies’, from West Germany to Greece, Spain and Portugal to the post-communist international locations.


In the European Parliament, the place most members have enthusiastically backed enlargement, she was largely preaching to the choir. But it did sound like a carried out deal to begin the accession course of when the European Council will get underway.

On behalf of the French Presidency of the EU, Europe Minister Clément Beaune stated that he hoped and believed that candidate standing for Ukraine and Moldova could be agreed by consensus within the Council. Georgia, he added, had but to fulfill sure necessities, together with the discharge of political prisoners.

Such consensus would make a change type the squabbling over sanctions on Russia that dominated the final assembly of the Council. Clément Beaune stated it was now a case of sustaining the stress with the vary of sanctions that the heads of presidency had agreed to introduce.

The best scope for disharmony will in all probability be within the session with Western Balkan leaders earlier than the principle Council will get underway. President von der Leyen stated she wished to get all six international locations within the area onto the trail to membership. But with their purposes stalled at totally different levels, there’s been doubt that they are going to even all flip up for the assembly.

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