EU nations agree to start the lengthy process of examining membership bids submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in the wake of Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbor, diplomats say.
The ex-Soviet states last week rushed in highly symbolic applications to join the bloc after the Kremlin launched its attack on Ukraine.
The move by the 27 member states is the first step in the bloc’s notoriously complex process for deciding whether to allow new members to join, which can drag on for years.
EU ambassadors agree to ask the bloc’s executive to present an “opinion” on the applications from the three countries, say French officials, who hold the EU’s rotating presidency.
The executive can take years to render its opinion and after that the member states have to agree unanimously to let the applicant formally become a “candidate.”