Czech PM expects Ukraine's candidacy bid to be accepted at EU summit
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has said, ahead of his trip to Brussels for an EU summit, that he expects the EU to agree on Ukraine's candidacy bid as an expression of solidarity, the Czech News Agency reported on Thursday. Mr. Fiala will also talk with Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels about further military assistance to Ukraine, defence policy, and further NATO enlargement, with Czechia supporting the accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance.
Mr. Fiala declared it important that EU leaders not only approve the candidate status of Ukraine and Moldova, but also that they make progress in negotiations with the Western Balkans. Czechia has long supported the accession of these countries to the EU, but the matter still divides the union. Before the summit, leaders of EU member countries will meet with the leaders of the six Balkan countries seeking to join, but diplomats say they are unlikely to make any major progress because of Bulgaria's veto over opening accession talks with North Macedonia.
Meanwhile, Ukraine and Moldova's bid for candidacy status is expected to be accepted. However, Mr. Fiala stressed that the subsequent accession process will not be quick or easy, and that no one can say now how long it will take the two countries to meet the conditions for admission. The leaders of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Kosovo are frustrated that the EU is rapidly granting candidate status to post-Soviet countries, while their progress on the road to the union is stagnating.