Europe

Zelenskyy goes on charm offensive ahead of EU candidacy decision

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has gone on a charm offensive ahead of a pivotal summit on whether Ukraine can become a candidate for EU membership.

Brussels gave Ukraine and Moldova the green light but the final decision rests with the European Council, which is made up of the leaders of EU countries.  

In a flurry of tweets, Ukraine’s president said he’d spoken to leaders from across the bloc to thank them for supporting Kyiv’s bid to be a candidate. 

Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, visited Zelenskyy in person. “Nothing can convey the horror of what has happened here,” he later said on social media. 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, backing Ukraine’s bid last week, said “we all know Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective, we want them to live with us, the EU”.

She went on to praise the country’s pre-war reforms to tackle corruption, curb the influence of oligarchs and strengthen the rights of minorities although she noted that “we want to see results on the ground”.

Moldova was also given candidate status but like Ukraine must wait for the European Council’s green light. 

“Provided the country’s leaders stay on course, we believe that the country [Moldova] has the potential to live up to the requirements,” von der Leyen said.

But von der Leyen caused “heartbreak” in Georgia after rejecting its bid to be a candidate for EU membership.

On Monday, tens of thousands of Georgians rallied in Tbilisi to protest against the decision.

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