With 529 votes to 45 and 14 abstentions, Parliament adopted on Thursday a resolution calling on the Heads of State or Government -who hold their summit today and tomorrow – to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova “without delay”. They should do the same with Georgia “once its government has delivered” on the priorities indicated by the European Commission.
In the context of the brutal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, this move would equate to showing leadership, resolve and vision, say MEPs. They insist that there is no ‘fast-track’ for EU membership and that accession remains a merit-based and structured process, which requires EU membership criteria to be fulfilled and is dependent on the effective implementation of reforms.
Proud and committed members of the European family
Parliament invites the authorities of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia to “unambiguously demonstrate their political determination to implement the European ambitions of their people”, accelerating reforms in order to effectively fulfil the criteria for EU membership as soon as possible.
Ukrainians, Moldovans and Georgians deserve to live in free, democratic and prosperous countries that are proud and committed members of the European family, MEPs state, urging the European Council to take an important first step towards fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the citizens of these three countries.
No alternative to EU enlargement, for the EU’s own sake
The resolution stresses that there is no alternative to enlargement, which is “more than ever a geostrategic investment” in a stable, strong and united EU. The prospect of full EU membership for the countries striving to become member states is in the European Union’s own political, economic and security interests. MEPs demand that the enlargement process be “re-energised” and unblocked as regards the Western Balkans.
As established in Article 49 of the EU Treaty, any European country that respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the European Union. The decision on new EU membership is taken unanimously by the Council, after consulting the Commission and getting Parliament’s consent.
Ukraine (on 28 February), the Republic of Moldova and Georgia (both on 3 March) applied for EU membership in the wake of the Russian attack against Ukraine. On 17 June, the Commission published opinions on the three applications, recommending that the Council confirm Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia’s perspectives of becoming member states of the EU.
The issue is on the agenda of the European Council, which meets today and tomorrow in Brussels. Ahead of the summit, EU leaders met this morning with their counterparts from the Western Balkans.