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Cyprus backs Ukraine’s EU application

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Nicosia backs Ukraine’s application to enter the European Union, which is on the agenda of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

Ukraine is set to be approved as an EU candidate at the summit after the European Commission gave the green light.

CNA said Cyprus is positive regarding the proposal to give Ukraine candidate member status, and it expects to see the position of other member states and whether there will be unanimity in that direction.

The summit conclusions are expected to include references to Turkey’s behaviour against Greece and Cyprus.

Ukraine applied days after the Russian invasion in February, and the process has since moved rapidly.

Its ambassador to the EU told the BBC it would be a psychological boost for Ukrainians.

But Vsevolod Chentsov admitted, “real integration” could only start when the war was over.

Candidate status is the first official step toward EU membership, and France said this week there was “total consensus” on Ukraine.

But it can take many years to join, and there’s no guarantee of success.

The Western Balkan countries of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have been candidate countries for years, in some cases for over a decade.

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for candidacy in 2016 but has still not succeeded.

EU leaders also meet their Western Balkan counterparts on Thursday, ahead of the main summit, to “build on the existing close ties”, but discussions are expected to be difficult.

Some member states are pushing for Bosnia to be given candidate status, although that is not expected to happen.

However, North Macedonia and Albania may make progress.

President Anastasiades is attending the European Council, the EU – Western Balkans summit and the eurozone conference.

The European Council will focus on the European prospects of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia (the Commission said the country’s European prospects be recognised) and discuss Russia’s invasion.

The leaders will also discuss French President Macron’s proposal to create a European political community, which will be “complementary to existing structures with the participation of European countries beyond the EU”.

On Friday, leaders will discuss the next steps regarding the Conference for the Future of Europe and the upcoming accession of Croatia into the eurozone.

They will also discuss rising inflation, its effects on the EU economy, and the next steps toward a Banking Union.