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European Council grants Ukraine, Moldova EU candidate status

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The European Council, on Thursday, has granted Ukraine and Moldova candidate status for European Union membership.

In what the European Council president, President Charles Michel, called a “historic moment,” the announcement was made after discussions among leaders of the EU’s 27 member states during a summit Thursday in Brussels.

The European Commission had, last week, recommended that Ukraine should be granted candidate status to pave way for the country’s membership of the bloc. The commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, had said Ukraine had “already implemented roughly 70 per cent of rules, norms and standards.”

In a statement approving the candidate status, The European Council said, “The European Council recognises the European perspective of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. The future of these countries and their citizens lies within the European Union.

“The European Council has decided to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine and to the Republic of Moldova.

“The Commission is invited to report to the Council on the fulfilment of the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinions on the respective membership applications as part of its regular enlargement package. The Council will decide on further steps once all these conditions are fully met.”

The European Council added that, “The progress of each country towards the European Union will depend on its own merit in meeting the Copenhagen criteria, taking into consideration the EU’s capacity to absorb new members.”

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