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What does it mean that Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union?

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Ukraine is today one step closer to being part of the European Union. Community leaders have awarded him this Thursday the candidate status together with Moldova, an unprecedented decision to accept the candidacy of a country at war, precisely when the Russian invasion completes four months of horror.

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The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, welcomed the Member States’ agreement as a “historic decision”just like the President of France, Emmanuel Macron – whose country currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU – and the President of the European Commission, who last week recommended granting such status to kyiv.

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However, Ursula Von der Leyen has indicated that both countries, like Georgia – for which the Twenty-seven have recognized the European perspective, but not the candidate status – they have “work to do” before the next stage in the accession process.

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And it is that Brussels calls for a series of reforms to adapt to European standards in terms of judicial independence, fight against corruption and organized crime or when applying the law that limits the power of the oligarchs.

Which are the next steps?

Last March, the Member States agreed start the process what for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia could join the community bloc in the future, shortly after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of the neighboring country on February 24.

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Though the EU ruled out rapid accession requested by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, kyiv and Chisinau have obtained candidate status in record timewhich for years have also held Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. Precisely, the accelerated granting of the status of candidates, spurred on by the armed conflict, has aroused the frustration of the Balkan countries.

Once a country becomes an official candidate for the EU, some talks formalities and a process for adoption of European legislationas well as preparations to be in a position to apply and enforce it correctly and the implementation of the judicial, administrative and economic reforms necessary for the country to comply with the membership criteria.

These go through a institutions stable that guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities; economic criteria relating to a functioning market economy capable of coping with competition and market forces; and the administrative and institutional capacities to effectively implement EU laws.

In these negotiations, the conditions and deadlines for the country in question to adopt all current Union rules. The standards are divided into chapters – such as transport, energy or the environment – which are negotiated separately. It is, in any case, a long process. The last country to join the bloc was Croatia in 2013, nine years after receiving candidate country status.

What happens if Ukraine joins the EU?

So, even though could take years Ukraine and neighboring Moldova effectively gain EU membership, the decision taken at the European Council is a step above all symbolicwith which the Twenty-seven once again make explicit their support for kyiv in the face of Moscow’s aggression, which they have already materialized in the sending of military aid and various packages sanctions– and at the same time send a signal about their willingness to go deeper into the former Soviet republics to the east of the continent.

But,what would happen if ukraine becomes part of the european union? This would mean that if the country is at war, so would the blocsince the EU Treaty establishes that “if a Member State is the object of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States must help and assist it with all the means at its disposal, in accordance with article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations”.

For now, Zelensky has already celebrated the move towards a Ukraine in the European Union. After knowing the decision of the leaders of the governments and states of the bloc, the Ukrainian president asserted: “Ukraine’s future lies within the EU.”

Source: Lasexta

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