The first foreign ship has sailed from Mariupol since the beginning of the Russian invasion, according to Ankara

The presidents and prime ministers of the 27 countries of the European Union are waiting for a key decision at the upcoming summit in Brussels whether to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate for membership in the European bloc. However, other impacts of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine will also be a topic. The two-day summit, which begins on Thursday afternoon, will also discuss further relations with the countries of the Western Balkans, which are trying in vain to move forward on the path to EU membership. They should also agree on the introduction of the euro in Croatia and address other economic issues, such as high energy prices.

Four months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the heads of state and government will have on their table Kiev’s application for membership as recommended by the European Commission last Friday. Following the positive comments of the leaders of France, Germany and Italy during their visit to Ukraine last week, the necessary unanimous agreement is generally expected.

“I don’t see any problem yet, but you never know if any of the leaders will want to take advantage of it,” an EU official familiar with the preparations for the summit told reporters today. He came across in particular the unclear position of Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orbán repeatedly used the right of veto to promote his interests in matters of the Ukrainian crisis. If no one opposes, the summit will approve the candidacy of Ukraine and Moldova and promise future approval of the Georgian one, provided that the country meets the conditions set by the commission.