European Commission backs EU candidate status for Ukraine, Moldova

The European Commission recommended Friday that Ukraine be granted the status of a candidate for EU membership as the country fights Russia’s invasion.

The Commission recommended that the status be granted “on the understanding” that Kyiv would undertake reforms to bolster the rule of law, tackle corruption and meet EU standards in other areas.

“Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, sporting an outfit in the Ukrainian national colors of yellow and blue.

The EU executive made a similar recommendation for Moldova but stopped short of doing the same for Georgia, saying that for now the country should only be granted “the perspective to become a member of the European Union.

The Commission did not say when membership talks should begin with either Ukraine or Moldova.

The Commission’s recommendations had been widely expected. But the decision on whether to confer candidate status on the two countries rests with EU leaders, who will address the issue at a summit in Brussels next week.

European Commission backs EU candidate status for Ukraine, Moldova
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen | Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the Commission’s move. “It’s the 1st step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our Victory closer,” he tweeted, adding he expected a “positive result” from the summit.

This article has been updated.