Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine shows enlargement as strategic priority – Council of EU

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine shows enlargement as strategic priority – Council of EU

The Council of the European Union has endorsed the Conclusions on the EU Enlargement Policy, reflecting the official position of EU Member States in this regard on the basis of the European Commission’s reports on the progress made by Candidate Countries towards EU membership.

The document determines enlargement as a geo-strategic investment in peace, security, stability and prosperity, an Ukrinform correspondent reports, referring to the Council Conclusions dated December 12, 2023.

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine shows that enlargement also is a strategic priority. Recalling in this context the Thessaloniki Agenda of 2003 and the European Council conclusions of June 2022, the Council confirms its full and unequivocal commitment to the EU membership perspective of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, reiterating that their future lies within the European Union. Türkiye remains a candidate country and a key partner in many areas of joint interest,” the document reads.

The Council strongly underlined the crucial importance of further deepening the cooperation on foreign policy issues and the Union’s expectations on partners to fully align with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including restrictive measures, a key aspect of the EU integration process and a strong expression of a partner’s strategic choice and place in a community of values.

“The EU continues to stand by partners and provide assistance, in particular to those fully aligned, including to enhance their resilience to hybrid threats. Preventing the circumvention of EU restrictive measures, including those adopted in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, remains of paramount importance,” the Council emphasized.

According to the document, enlargement is a geo-strategic investment in peace, security, stability and prosperity. It is a driver for improving the economic and social conditions of European citizens, reducing disparities between countries, and must foster the values on which the Union is founded.

The Council mentioned that aspiring members need to step up their reform efforts, notably in the area of rule of law, in line with the merit-based nature of the accession process and with the assistance of the EU.

At the same time, the Union needs to lay the necessary internal groundwork and reforms.

“We will set our long-term ambitions and the ways to achieve them. We will address key questions related to our priorities and policies as well as our capacity to act. This will make the EU stronger and will enhance European sovereignty,” the Council stressed.

A reminder that, on November 8, 2023, the European Commission presented the 2023 Enlargement Report, which included, for the first time, the assessment of progress made by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, along with the reports on Türkiye and the Western Balkans.

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