The two-day European Council is preceded by a meeting between the leaders of the EU and the Western Balkans, who have been in the “queue” for years to join the EU bloc, the heads of state and government of 27 countries, including the first – the Portuguese Minister António Costa.
On the table are recent European Commission recommendations regarding membership applications submitted by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia jThis happened after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Last Friday, the head of the community recommended granting the status of candidate countries to Ukraine and Moldova, while Georgia proposes to give only a “European perspective”, given that additional steps are needed to obtain the status of a candidate country.
Andrea Neves, correspondent for Antena 1 in Brussels
The focus is on Ukraine, it now seems self-evident that the 27 will follow the Commission’s recommendation.
The President of Ukraine said he spoke with 11 EU leaders on Wednesday about Ukraine’s candidacy and would make several more calls on Thursday, believing that all 27 EU countries would support Ukraine’s candidate status.
“We deserve it” he told the crowd in Amsterdam via video link.
“This is a defining moment for us. Some people on my team say it’s like stepping out of darkness into light. From the point of view of our army and society, this will be a great motivation, a great motivational factor for the unity and victory of the Ukrainian people.”
In a telephone conversation on Tuesday, the Portuguese Prime Minister confirmed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Portugal supports granting Ukraine candidate status in the EU accession process.
In a discussion this Wednesday in the Portuguese Parliament António Costa said that in order to take Ukraine seriously as a candidate, the European Union (EU) needs to review its institutional and budgetary architecture.
Last week, the leaders of the Union’s three largest economies – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi – were in Kyiv to jointly express their support for granting status with effect immediately. France has already said this week that there is a “full consensus” on Ukraine.
Candidate status is the first official step towards membership in the European Union. But accession can still take years, and there are no guarantees of success, especially in the event of a war that can last for years.
The Western Balkan countries Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have been candidate countries for many years. In some cases, more than ten years. Bosnia and Herzegovina applied in 2016 but has not yet received candidate status.
Granting Ukraine EU candidate status would be a historic decision, signaling to Russia that it cannot continue to claim a sphere of influence over its eastern neighbor, Kyiv’s ambassador to Brussels said. Vsevolod Chentsov, head of Ukraine’s mission to the EU, said Russia’s war had united Kyiv with the bloc.
A poll released this week by the think tank of the European Council on Foreign Relations found that 57% of Europeans support Ukraine’s membership bid.