Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that his country could begin accession talks to the European Union. “This is a victory for Ukraine,” he wrote on X. Other European leaders talk about a “new page.”
“A victory for the whole of Europe,” Zelensky says. “A victory that motivates, inspires and gives strength.”
The Ukrainian president is currently visiting an American military base in Germany. Via video link, he urged the European Council to take the next step. He stated that “people in Europe will not understand” if the summit ends “with a satisfied smile from Putin.”
Zelensky thanks everyone who contributed to the decision on X. “History is written by those who never tire of fighting for freedom.”
It was not at all certain that European government leaders would decide to open the talks, because Hungary threatened to block them. All member states had to agree, but Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was not present at the vote.
Orban wrote on Facebook that he believes this is a “bad decision” and that “Hungary does not want to participate in it.” However, the decision is correct, as senior EU diplomats confirm.
Government leaders also gave the green light for negotiations with Moldova on Thursday.
Ontvang meldingen bij nieuws over de Europese Unie
Rutte calls the decision “great news”
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the decision by EU leaders is “great news”. It is also believed to be for the Netherlands and Europe.
The fact that the EU has begun negotiations with the two candidate countries is “great news for Moldova and of course for President Zelensky and all the brave Ukrainians who are fighting for their country and their security,” Rutte wrote on X. “Security and values like the Dutch and the Europeans.”
Other European leaders are also happy about taking this step. “It is a strong sign of support and perspective for Ukraine,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote. “It is clear: these countries belong to Europe.” European Council President Charles Michel speaks of a “historic moment.” “This shows the credibility and strength of the European Union,” he added.
Moldova’s president “turns the page today”
Moldova’s President Maia Sandu considers Thursday’s decision a new stage for her country. “Moldova is turning the page today. Today we feel the warm embrace of Europe,” she wrote on X.
Sandu thanks Europe for all the support her country has received in recent years, and says she is doing everything in her power to prepare Moldova for EU membership. “Moldova is ready for this challenge.”
Sandu calls the decision an “honor.” He added: “We would not have achieved this day without the courageous Ukrainian resistance to the brutal Russian invasion.” Moldova and Ukraine gained EU candidate status last year, just months after the Russian invasion.
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