European Council President: Enlargement Decision a Signal of Hope and Confidence

The EU Summit concluded today with a joint press-conference by EU Council President Charles Michel, EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The EU Council President said that the decision on the enlargement package taken at the Summit was “emotional” for him and called on the candidate countries to swiftly implement the necessary reforms to continue on the path towards EU membership.

The agenda of the EU summit, which took place in the midst of several global crises, included issues such as enlargement, security and defense, the situation in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine, the reconstruction of Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and others.

On the first day of the Summit, despite expected difficulties due to the Hungary’s position on Ukraine, the EU leaders managed to make a decision to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, and to grant candidate status to Georgia on the understanding that the relevant steps set out in the Commission’s recommendation of 8 November 2023 have been taken. They also decided to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once it has met the necessary membership criteria.

At the end of the Summit, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, opened the press conference taking stock of the EU summit’s decisions by saying: “The war of aggression by Russia on Ukraine has already deeply transformed the EU.” He added: “We are anchored in our values of peace, security and prosperity. The Summit has a historic dimension to it, because we decided to open negotiations with Moldova and Ukraine, and give candidate status to Georgia.”

He called the decision “a signal of hope and confidence…” He said: “We are absolutely convinced that enlargement is investment in peace, security and prosperity. This is very powerful political message we send to our European citizens and to the citizens and of candidate countries and the rest of the world.”

Commenting on the decision regarding the following steps on the membership path of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina Michel said: “This will probably will remain one of the most emotional times on the personal level for me, because at that time I was saying on behalf of all the colleagues around the table: we have done this, we’ve opened the perspective…Which is fundamental because it will change the face of EU for the coming years and decades but it will also will change the reality for the countries in question.”

As for his message to Georgians and the expected next steps he said: “Congratulations! We are really happy that we could make this decision! Now let’s work, quickly. Let’s roll up our sleeves, let make the necessary steps and reforms. Let’s make this European Union that we all share, a success…”

Ursula von der Leyen said: “Congratulations! Keep up the good work. You are Europe. We want you to join the European union and let’s work together.”

PM Minister Sánchez of Spain, which currently holds the EU Presidency called on the EU candidates to take advantage of the momentum and implement the reforms that will allow them to eventually join the EU.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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