In a "mostly symbolic" decision, European Union ambassadors on Tuesday agreed to "call for an initial assessment of Ukraine's chances of joining the 27-nation bloc," Bloomberg reports.
The ambassadors will now report back to the European Commission to further identify the possibility of Ukrainian membership. According to officials with knowlege of the matter, "EU leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine's prospects at a summit in Paris on March 10-11," Bloomberg writes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had initially put in a formal membership bid on Monday.
Even with the move in Ukraine's favor, the road ahead remains long. In fact, the process of accepting a new member can last for over a decade, Bloomberg notes. The EU could agree to speed things up, given the dire situation in Kyiv, but there is still apparently "little chance" of the country rapidly securing so-called accession, Bloomberg writes, per an official.
Already, however, Ukraine has "received strong support from some member states," Bloomberg notes. The leaders of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, for example, in a letter called for the EU to open an immediate accession path for Ukraine.
Now that the ambassadors have called for an assessment, "it will be up to the commission to determine if [Ukraine] is ready to start the accession process," Bloomberg explains. Afterward, EU member states will make the final call on whether or not to move forward, once presented with the commission's findings.