A Ukrainian official overseeing the country’s efforts to join the European Union said on Wednesday she was “100%” certain that the 27 EU countries would approve Ukraine’s candidacy to join the EU in a peak this week. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed similar optimism, calling it a “pivotal moment” for Ukraine. Ukraine’s application for membership is the priority of EU leaders meeting in Brussels.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said the decision could come as early as Thursday, when the leaders’ summit begins. Stefanishyna said the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark had been skeptical about opening accession talks with Ukraine as it fought off the Russian invasion, but are now supportive. When asked how confident she was that Ukraine would be accepted as an EU candidate, she replied: “The day before the summit started, I can say 100%”.
The executive branch of the EU backed Ukraine’s candidacy last week. Stefanishyna described the European Commission’s approval as “a game-changer” that cut the ground under “the legs of the most hesitant”.
EU candidate status, which can only be granted if existing member countries agree unanimously, is the first step towards membership. It does not provide any security guarantee or automatic right to join the block.