A historic day for Ukraine

Demonstrators in Brussels on Thursday demand candidate status for Ukraine.
Image: EPA

Actually, at the EU summit, all eyes should have been on Ukraine, which is now officially a candidate for accession. But disgruntled Western Balkan countries thwarted the plan.

Dhe day, which many had previously called “historic,” began with lamentations and warnings. “Welcome to Ukraine,” said Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, upon arriving at the European Council building in the morning. Candidate status for the country is a good thing. In the very next sentence he added: “I hope that the Ukrainian people will not have many illusions about this.”

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

Albania has been a candidate for membership for eight years, and North Macedonia for seventeen years. Two years ago, the member states decided to open accession negotiations with both countries. They’re still waiting for that. As a protest, they and Serbia had considered not even coming to Brussels on Thursday. The fact that they did it after all was due to the signals that had come from Sofia the day before.

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