Ukraine-EU Talks Begin

The European Union has officially opened negotiations for Ukraine and Moldova to join the bloc, marking the beginning of a prolonged and intricate process that could take years. The move comes as a gesture of support to Ukraine following more than two years of war since Russia invaded its territory in 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the development, stating that his country’s return to Europe marks the fulfillment of a long-held aspiration for millions of Ukrainians. He believes that Ukraine has a deep historical and cultural connection with Europe, having once been part of the continent.

This decision sends a strong message of encouragement to Ukraine and marks a significant shift in the country’s relationship with the EU. The war with Russia has renewed momentum in the push for new members to join the EU, a process that has been stalled in recent years for countries in the Western Balkans.

In related news, the EU recently granted formal candidate status to Georgia, another Russian former Soviet neighbor. The block’s meetings with Ukraine and Moldova began a comprehensive assessment of the countries’ laws and regulations to determine how close they are to EU standards.

Once the initial assessment is complete, the EU will have to establish conditions for negotiations on 35 critical issues, covering areas such as taxes, environmental policies, and more. This process will require complex negotiations with European institutions in Brussels, which can last up to a decade.

Ukraine began its EU membership bid in 2022, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion, and has called for an expedited process. Although the EU maintained its support, it opted not to allow immediate incorporation. The union’s decision marks a significant step in the country’s bid to join the organization.

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