Georgia (a country in Western Asia) and Moldova (in Eastern Europe) applied to join EU, days after the European Parliament supported Ukraine’s similar action.
These are both former members of the Soviet Union, but now they are Western allies. The war in Ukraine has made the West more interested in Georgia and Moldova, two former Soviet states that have turned pro-Western.
Ukraine wants to be approved by the EU for fast, they took advanced that Russia is conducting a special military operation on its territory.
“Today we have applied for membership of the European Union (EU),” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced on March 3 after signing the letter of application.
“Georgia’s history associated with Europe and will continue to make valuable contributions to the defense and development of the continent.”
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili
After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applied to join the EU earlier this week, Georgia’s ruling party has been under pressure from the opposition, demanding that Prime Minister Garibashvili do the same act.
Georgia (“Gruzia” in the Russian and Vietnamese languages) has a population of 3.7 million, bordered to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan.
This country has two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which want to merge with Russia.
Georgia can get the same support as Ukraine to achieve its dream of joining the EU. Georgia announced its intention to join last year, with the aim of becoming an EU member by 2024.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili last month visited Paris (France) and Brussels (Belgium) to persuade European leaders to offer his country special features similar to Ukraine.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R)
On the same day, Moldova President Maia Sandu announced that he had signed an application to join the EU. Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said March 3 will become a milestone that “next generations will look back proudly, this was a moment when Moldova was tied to Europe”.
Moldova President Maia Sandu
Moldova has a population of nearly 2.6 million, bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east and south.
Moldova also has a breakaway region, Transnistria, which was under Soviet rule.
Location of Georgia and Moldova
Challenges are waiting
After registering to join, these countries still have to go through a complicated and time-consuming membership review process, in order to meet the political and economic standards of the 27-European Union. Every EU member has the right to veto new membership.
The EU currently has 27 members, with many countries applying to join.
- North Macedonia has been waiting since 2005,
- Montenegro since 2010,
- Serbia since 2012,
- Albania since 2014.
Turkey was a candidate since 1999. However, relations between Turkey and the EU have weakened since 2013 and turned confrontational after the EU accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of targeting political opponents for the failed coup. defeated in 2016.
In 2019, the EU announced the termination of negotiations on Turkey’s membership.
Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo
Two other members of the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kosovo, are considered potential candidates but have not yet met the EU’s criteria.
In addition, Brussels launched the Eastern Partnership program with a group of former Soviet republics in 2009, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The Eastern Partnership program of the EU
Other Eastern European countries
Finland took only 4 years to be accepted by the EU, the three Baltic republics (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) took 9 years of negotiation and reform socio-political.
Finland took only 4 years to be a member of the EU. It could be 30 years for Ukraine