EU chief visits Ukraine to discuss its bid to join bloc

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EU chief Ursula von der Leyen visited Ukraine on Saturday to discuss with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy his country’s bid to get candidacy status to join the European Union.

“With President Zelenskyy I will take stock of the joint work needed for reconstruction and of the progress made by Ukraine on its European path,” von der Leyen tweeted on arrival in Kyiv.

Ukraine applied to join the EU soon after Russia invaded, yet some in the West are hesitant even to grant it candidate status as they seek to avoid the possibility of a fast track to membership.

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Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron said it would take “decades” for a candidate like Ukraine to join the EU, and suggested building a broader political club that could also include Britain, which left the EU in 2020.

Formally adopting the country as a candidate would be a decision for the 27 EU member states acting on expert advice from von der Leyen’s commission, which would oversee the complex and potentially lengthy accession process.

Ukraine will notably have to meet rigorous standards in governance, fight corruption and apply the rule of law before it could be admitted as a member.

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