EU Set to Initiate Enlargement Negotiations With Ukraine, Moldova

The European Union last Friday agreed to begin membership negotiations with Moldova and Ukraine, bringing the two nations one step closer to the West and away from Russian influence.

Officials in Belgium, in which the EU presidency currently resides, said EU member states agreed to begin talks in Luxemburg on June 25.

Less than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, Kyiv applied to join the European Union, and EU leaders moved swiftly to make Ukraine a candidate in June 2022. However, the process has since slowed down, making it likely to take years or even decades for Ukraine’s membership to be approved.

At the same time, opening talks would send a clear signal of the EU’s solidarity with the embattled country, even beyond the bloc’s significant financial support

Leaders from the 27 EU nations agreed to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova last year, a necessary agreement that lays the legal groundwork for last Friday’s decision.

To join the European Union, a country must go through the process of aligning its laws and standards with those of the EU. Additionally, candidate countries must meet multiple economic and political conditions, such as committing to democratic principles, including the rule of law.

For Ukraine to be accepted into the bloc, it will have to adopt certain reforms and must take steps to curb government corruption.

While the European Union is not a military alliance like NATO, membership is viewed by some countries as providing some protection against Russian influence. Ukraine is one of several European countries that have wanted to join the bloc for years, viewing it as a path to stability and wealth.

Moldova has repeatedly accused Moscow of waging a “hybrid war” against it, alleging Russia engages in election interference and disinformation campaigns aimed at overthrowing its government and upending Moldova’s path to EU membership.