The European Council agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova during an EU summit on Thursday. Earlier, Belgium had said that the status would be a major sign of hope to Kiev, but it is, as of now, more of a “symbolic” gesture.
The news on Ukraine becoming a European Union hopeful was broken by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
“European Council has granted the status of candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova. Historic moment and a signal of hope for the Ukranian (sic) people,” Bettel tweeted.
President of the European Council Charles Michel hailed the decision as a “historic moment”. While Georgia fell short of getting a candidate status, the bloc recognized “the European perspective” of the country, Michel explained, adding that the European Council “is ready to grant candidate status once the outstanding priorities are addressed.”
Earlier in the day, the European Parliament overwhelmingly backed a proposal to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Last week, Kiev’s bid was supported by the EU Commission.
The President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, congratulated the three countries on the bloc’s decision. She warned, however, that all of them “have work to do before moving to the next stage of the process.”