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Ukraine’s EU candidate status is ‘symbolic’ – Belgium — RT World News

The actual admissions process is expected to take ‘many years’, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has warned

The granting of EU candidate status to Ukraine is an important element “symbolic message” to support kyiv in the ongoing conflict with Russia, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Thursday. The country’s actual admission into the bloc, however, will take “many years” and one “many reforms” he warned.

Ukraine is expected to be granted candidate status at the current European Council summit. The European Parliament overwhelmingly backed the move on Thursday, while last week the European Commission recommended granting such status to kyiv.

Speaking ahead of a bloc summit, De Croo reiterated Belgium’s support for Kyiv’s EU membership aspirations.

“Ukrainians are fighting for our values, for our values ​​of democracy, security and peace. Giving a signal to the Ukrainian people with candidate status is a very important symbolic message,” said De Croo.

Still, the process of actually joining the bloc will be a bumpy road as the country has to tackle a wide range of issues to meet EU standards, the prime minister stressed.

“This does not mean that Ukraine will soon be part of the European Union. It is a process of several years with many reforms which will be very difficult and for us it is very important to give a strong symbolic signal”, De Croo explained.

The conditions to become a member of the European Union are not easy to fulfill and it will take a long time.

EU membership has been a major talking point for pro-Western Ukrainian politicians for decades already, but member states of the bloc have yet to signal that Kyiv is ready to become a candidate. Ukraine’s drive to join the bloc was reinvigorated amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, which erupted in late February.

Russia attacked Ukraine after kyiv’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give the regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.

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