European Union makes Ukraine a candidate for EU membership

A protestor wears a flower headband in the Ukraine colors as she participates in a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

A protestor wears a flower headband in the Ukraine colors as she participates in a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

The European Union has agreed to make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, setting in motion a potentially yearslong process that could pull the embattled country further away from Russia’s influence and bind it more closely to the West.

Ukraine applied for EU membership less than a week after Moscow invaded on Feb. 24.

The decision by the leaders of the 27-nation bloc to grant Ukraine candidate status Thursday was uncharacteristically rapid for the EU. But the war and Ukraine’s request for fast-track consideration lent urgency to its cause.

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The EU also granted candidate status to Moldova, which borders Ukraine.

Gaining membership could take years or even decades. Countries must meet a detailed host of economic and political conditions, including a commitment to the rule of law and other democratic principles.

Ukraine will have to curb government corruption and adopt other reforms.

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