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Ukraine and Moldova became candidates for EU membership in a fast-track procedure

epa10029276 Demonstrators demonstrate on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium June 23, 2022 in front of the European Council to call for Ukraine's accession to the EU. At the meeting of the European Council on June 23-24, topics will be discussed, among others, Ukraine's application for EU membership. EPO/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Demonstrators demonstrate outside the European Council demanding Ukraine’s accession to the EU (Image: EPA)

The European Union has agreed Ukraine a chance to join in a move that could pull the nation further from Russia’s grip.

The embattled country is applying for EU membership less than a week after Vladimir Putin launched his February 24 invasion.

The decision by the heads of state and government of the 27-strong bloc today to grant candidate status came unusually quickly for the EU.

But the war and Ukraine’s call for an expedited process prompted leaders to meet in Brussels to move forward.

The EU also granted candidate status to Moldova, which borders Ukraine. Despite the importance of the move, actual membership could still be years or even decades to come.

Countries must meet a detailed set of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles.

Ukraine must curb government corruption and adopt other reforms if it wants to join.

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epa10029294 A protester demonstrates on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium June 23, 2022 in front of the European Council to call for Ukraine's accession to the EU Issues, the EU membership application from Ukraine. EPO/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Ukraine applied to join the bloc less than a week after Vladimir Putin invaded (Image: EPA)

People hold a giant flag as they take part in a pro-EU march in support of the country's membership of the European Union before Brussels decides on Georgia's candidate status June 20, 2022 in downtown Tbilisi. - Tens of thousands of Georgians took to the streets on June 20, 2022 in support of the country's membership of the European Union, days after the European Commission recommended postponing Tbilisi's candidacy. EU leaders are expected to decide by June 24 on granting candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, which are bidding for EU membership shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24 had applied. (Photo by Vano SHLAMOV/AFP) (Photo by VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the decision as a “unique and historic moment” (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

The war-torn nation’s leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, hailed the decision as a “unique and historic moment”.

He has spent the last few months strengthening ties with the EU while asking for further support against Russia’s aggression.

The move is not without risk for the EU. After all, there is war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Moldova’s conflict over the Russian-backed breakaway region of Transnistria has been at a stalemate since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/23/ukraine-and-moldova-fast-tracked-to-become-candidates-to-join-eu-16882569/ Ukraine and Moldova became candidates for EU membership in a fast-track procedure

Justin Scacco

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