By Jonny Tickle
The leaders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have published a joint statement calling on the European Union to officially recognize and acknowledge the “sovereign choice” of the three nations to become members of the bloc.
Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova are part of the Eastern Partnership initiative, alongside Azerbaijan and Armenia. However, much to the frustration of lawmakers in Kiev, Tbilisi, and Chisinau, the EU is showing no signs of officially accepting them. After Wednesday’s sixth Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, the countries, also known as the ‘Association Trio,’ published a joint statement.
“We acknowledged the need to enhance cooperation of the Association Trio with the EU aiming at increased coordination among them on matters of common interest related to advancing the European Integration,” the statement read. “We reiterated our determination backed by the strong will of our peoples to work towards joining the European Union.”
“In this respect, we call on the European Union to support the sovereign choice of our states together with all the relevant steps taken by us vis-a-vis European integration and acknowledge the European perspective of Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine,” it concluded.
Despite their insistence on joining, the Association Trio is regularly told that their aspirations are unrealistic. Earlier this year, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said it would take the countries at least 20 years to meet the necessary criteria. This echoes a similar statement made by then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in 2016, who said that Ukraine had no shot at becoming a member of the EU or NATO within the next 20-25 years.