Candidate status is the powerful European response to Putin's brutal aggression

Feature photo: flags of Ukraine and the EU | © Shutterstock

In my capacity as European policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, I have the following position on the EU Commission's recommendation to nominate Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova as EU accession candidates:

Candidate status has never been more symbolic than in the case of Ukraine. It is logical and appropriate to give Ukraine candidate status at the next EU summit. The people of Ukraine are fighting for the freedom of Europe and this deserves our support.

The pro-European EU neighbor Moldova also needs the backing of candidate status, because Russia has been undermining its statehood for years.

Candidate status is the strong European response to Putin's brutal aggression. We also welcome the prospect of accession that has been announced for Georgia. But it is also clear that it will take a very long time for these countries to open negotiations, let alone for them to join. Accession must be preceded by difficult conflict resolutions and far-reaching reforms.

The granting of candidate status must therefore be linked to a clear commitment to fundamental reforms on the part of the candidates, but also on the part of the EU itself. With its current structures, the EU would not be able to absorb them. In order not to lose valuable time in view of the increasing system rivalry with Russia and China, the accession process should also be modernized, e.g. B. through intermediate steps such as participation of the candidates in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, such intermediate steps must also be open to those accession candidates in the Western Balkans who have been pushing for serious reforms for a long time and have so far been waiting in vain for recognition.

You can find out more about the European Union (EU) and also about who can become a member of the EU in this somewhat older blog post.