The European Commission on Friday recommended candidate status for Ukraine in its quest to become a member of the European Union, formally kicking off an accession process "that normally lasts longer than a decade," The New York Times writes.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union's executive body, said the commission's recommendation is "of course on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further reforms."
"In the view of the commission, Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country's aspiration and the country's determination to live up to European values and standards," she said. "We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream."
The commission also recommended candidate status for Moldova, which applied shortly after Ukraine, but not for Georgia, "which was deemed not ready for EU candidacy," the Times notes.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday announced their support for Ukraine's membership during a visit to Kyiv. The Friday news comes as "major boost" to Ukraine's application, CNN writes.
Becoming a part of the 27-member bloc is a long and arduous process that requires prospective members to meet a set of requirements known as the Copenhagen Criteria. Ukraine first applied to join on February 28, four days after Russia begin its invasion.
The leaders of all member states will meet next week to discuss next steps for Moldova and Ukraine.