EU countries share ‘broad consensus’ to grant candidate status to Ukraine: French minister

BRUSSELS

There is a broad consensus among EU member states to grant candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, but with different conditions, the French minister for Europe said on Tuesday.

French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune spoke at a press conference following the meeting of European Affairs Ministers in Luxembourg.

The meeting was aimed at preparing for the EU leaders’ summit which begins on Thursday and is expected to endorse the European Commission’s recommendations on candidate status.

Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, said it was a “historic week” for the European Union.

There is a “fairly broad consensus” to grant EU candidate status to the three countries, but the conditions “probably won’t be the same for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia”, Beaune explained.

He added that all applications “have been treated differently with a different set of conditions, ways and means” in accordance with the recommendations of the European Commission.

Beaune also said that following last week’s visit by French, German and Italian leaders to Kyiv, “there seems to be a general political will at the moment, to say to Ukraine, as a very strong symbol , that the time has come for them to start discussing the prospect of their membership”.

For his part, Sefcovic stressed that it is important “to offer a clear European perspective” for these countries in the current difficult times of “renewed geopolitical rivalry”.

“We hope this will serve as motivation and inspiration for people in these countries,” he added.

He also confirmed that the EU executive and EU ministers showed their commitment during the meeting “to help these countries with reforms, technical assistance and financial support, not only to cope to the current situation related to the war in Ukraine, but also to prepare them to be ready for effective membership.

Last week, the European Commission recommended candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova with the rule of law, anti-corruption and judicial reform conditions, and reaffirmed the European perspective for Georgia.

Just four days after Russia launched its war against Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally signed his country’s application for EU membership.

Inspired by Ukraine’s request, Georgia and Moldova also applied for EU membership on March 3.

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