European Union accept Ukraine and Moldova as candidates to join the bloc

Handout photo issued by the Assault Troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of a Ukrainian soldier putting up the country's flag with a shelter containing the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986 seen in the background. Picture date: Sunday April 3, 2022.
Handout photo issued by the Assault Troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of a Ukrainian soldier putting up the country's flag with a shelter containing the Chernobyl reactor that exploded in 1986 seen in the background. Picture date: Sunday April 3, 2022.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that it was a historic moment and a "good day for Europe"

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Ukraine and Moldova have been accepted as candidates to join the European Union.

European leaders formally accepted Ukraine as a candidate to join the EU on Thursday, a bold geopolitical move triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine but a reminder that the 27-nation bloc will need a major overhaul as it looks to enlarge again.

Although it could take Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova more than a decade to qualify for membership, the decision at a two-day EU summit is symbolic step that signals the bloc's intention to reach deep into the former Soviet Union.

"A historic moment," European Council chief Charles Michel tweeted. "Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU," he said, adding: "Our future is together."

The move, which also sees Moldova being granted candidate status, kick-starts the EU's most ambitious expansion since it welcomed Eastern European states after the Cold War.

More to follow...