The European Commission recommends granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for the European Union (EU)announced on Friday the president of the European executive, Ursula von der Leyen, a “historic decision” according to the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski.
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The European executive also announced that the same recommendation for EU candidate status is made for Moldova, another former Soviet republic. These recommendations will be discussed at the European summit on June 23 and 24 and, for the process to move forward, the leaders of the 27 EU countries must unanimously give their green light.
“The Commission recommends to the Council, firstly, to give Ukraine a European perspective and, secondly, to grant it candidate status. This, of course, on the condition that the country undertakes a certain number of important reforms,” said Von der They read.
“We all know that the Ukrainians are willing to die to defend their European aspirations.yes We want them to live with us, for the European dream”, added the president of the Commission.
Shortly after, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky reacted in a tweet: “Grateful to Ursula von der Leyen and every member of the European Commission for a historic decision.” “It is the first stage on the path to EU accession which will also undoubtedly bring us closer to victory” in the war with Russia, Zelensky added.
Never has a recommendation of this type been so fast on a request for candidacyan urgency due to the war that Russia has been waging for almost four months in Ukraine, and which is part of the support given by Europeans to this country against Moscow.
Paris, Berlin and Rome called for the “immediate” granting of this official candidate status to Ukraine, during a visit to kyiv on Thursday by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. , who were joined by the Romanian president.
Ukraine is “determined to work” to become a full member of the bloc, Zelensky assured them.
The former Soviet republic presented its candidacy at the end of February, shortly after the beginning of the invasion, and since then its president has not stopped asking Brussels to show that “words about the Ukrainian people belonging to the European family are not in vain”.
To be a candidate to enter the bloc, a country must meet a series of political criteria (democracy, rule of law, protection of minorities), economic criteria (a viable market economy) and commit to assuming the rules of European law.
Ukraine is already linked to the EU by an association agreement that entered into force in September 2017. Von der Leyen, who has traveled to Ukraine twice, acknowledged that the country’s authorities had “done a lot” for the candidacy, but pointed out that there was still “a lot to do”, especially in the fight against corruption and respect for the rule of law.
Corruption in Ukraine is endemic: in its 2021 report, Transparency International ranks it 122nd out of 180far behind its EU neighbors (the worst placed is Bulgaria in 78th place).
The Russian gas tap is closing
Russia closed the gas tap to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland, sharply reduced the flow to Germany, Austria and Italy, while France no longer receives even a cubic meter. In the fourth month of war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin challenges the European Union with gas cuts considered “blackmail”.
Indeed, Moscow presses where it hurts the most and plays with the energy vulnerability of Europeans, who consume an average of 40 percent of the gas that comes from Russia. This percentage is even higher in other countries: 55 percent in the case of Germany and 85 percent in Bulgaria.
In most European countries the gas shortage is not yet felt, since in the height of summer it is not necessary to turn on the heating. But it is precisely in the summer period when countries usually replenish their reserves, with a goal of storing at least 80% by November in the European Union (EU).
Falling deliveries are driving up prices, which will be costly for industries, especially in Germany, whose factories, often directly connected to pipelines, need huge amounts of gas in the chemical, steel, cement and fertilizers. “The Russians have been using gas as a weapon for a long time,” Thierry Bros, a professor at the Sciences Po Paris Institute, told AFP.
“The Kremlin uses the principle of uncertainty, one day something and the next day something else, to analyze our unit and put pressure on the commodity market and push prices up.”
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