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EU agrees to open membership talks with Ukraine, Moldova

Leaders of the 27 European countries attend a summit in Brussels, Belgium, on December 14, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

In a show of support to Kiev amid the Ukraine war, the European Union leaders have agreed to open formal membership negotiations with the country.

Former Soviet republic Moldova will also be considered for open accession talks for securing the EU membership.

The decision was announced on Thursday at a summit in Brussels, Belgium, attended by the leaders of the 27 EU countries.

Open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova started after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left the room to allow a unanimous decision.

Hungary had earlier threatened to veto the accession of Ukraine into the European Union.

“Hungary does not want to be part of this bad decision!” Orban said in a statement on Facebook.

European Council President Charles Michel called the decision “a clear signal of hope for their people and our continent.”

Orban was a lone hold-out at the summit, taking place at a critical time for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the decision as “a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe.”

“A victory that motivates, inspires, and strengthens,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine and Moldova signed application for the EU membership in February 2022. The two countries were granted a candidate status at an EU summit in Brussels on June 23, 2022.

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