The President of the European Council hopes that the 27 will follow the European Commission’s recommendation to grant “candidate country status” to both Ukraine and Moldova. Georgia’s “European perspective” must also be recognised.
In the invitation letter that he usually sends to European leaders, – this time accompanied by a video message -, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, says he expects a “decisive” result for the three candidate countries to join the European bloc.
“I believe that it is time to recognize the European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The future of these countries and their people lies within the European Union”, considered Charles Michel, stressing that “more specifically, my intention is that we decide to grant the candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova”.
Charles Michel says that there will be no shortcuts on the way to the European Union, in other words, says the President of the European Council, “these countries will have to fulfill conditions along the European path, namely in the field of the rule of law and the fight against corruption “.
“The people of Ukraine have chosen freedom, democracy and the European future and now they are fighting for it and we are on their side,” he said.
From a perspective of “security and stability” on the European continent, Charles Michel considers that there should be a strengthening of the relationship with other “partner countries”.
“This idea of a European political community can strengthen cooperation and contribute to a safer and more prosperous Europe”, admits the President of the European Council, ensuring that “this idea is not a substitute for enlargement”. “For this reason, we are reinvigorating the enlargement process with the Western Balkans and advancing their integration”, defended the Belgian.
The processes of the various western Balkan countries that have already been granted candidate country status have been stalled for years.
As an example, in the case of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the current Republic of North Macedonia, the application for membership of the European Union was submitted in March 2004. The status of candidate country arrived more than a year and a half later, in December from 2005.
From that moment, the Commission should have received the green light to open accession negotiations, but friction with Greece, mainly because of the country’s name, the same as that of the Greek region of Macedonia, blocked the process.
The situation was resolved with the “Prespa Agreement” that culminated, in 2019, with the official change to the Republic of North Macedonia. But, so far, negotiations have not been opened, due to questions regarding the use of language, identity and history, this time, raised by Bulgaria.
Albania applied for accession in April 2009. In 2012, the Commission recommended granting Albania candidate country status, subject to reforms. The country received the status in 2014. But negotiations were never opened.
Montenegro applied to join the European Union in December 2008, two years after the country’s declaration of independence. It achieved candidate country status in 2010 and saw negotiations open in 2012. Negotiations have now reached the last of the topics: competition policy. But Brussels understands that aiming for membership of the European Union by 2025 would be an “extremely ambitious” goal.
In the case of Serbia, after the candidacy in 2019, and the recognition of “candidate country status” in 2012, negotiations were opened in 2014. Since 2019, no new chapters have been opened and they are at a standstill.
consequences of the war
The president of the European Council also said in the invitation letter that the summit will put on the table the economic consequences of the war in the 27 economies of the European Union.
“Our families and our companies are under pressure due to the consequences of the war, which is pushing up the price of everyday goods and services”, he said, giving as examples “food, energy, inflation to increase”.
Charles Michel expects a discussion on “concrete ways to help everyone cope with the high cost of living”.
“The current situation requires an in-depth discussion during our Euro Summit, in the presence of the President of the European Central Bank and the President of the Eurogroup. We will also have to determine how we want to advance in the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union”, he says in the invitation letter.