European Council Chief Urges EU Countries to Prepare for Expansion

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The European Union should be ready to accept new member states into the association by 2030. This is stated in the draft speech of the President of the European Council Charles Michel at the opening of the XVIII International Strategic Forum. Excerpts from the draft are quoted by the Financial Times. “If we want to be trusted, we have to talk about deadlines. As we prepare the EU’s next strategic agenda, we must set ourselves a clear goal. We must be ready, on both sides, by 2030 to enlarge. We must now see enlargement as one of our main challenges. Both for the EU and for its future Member States,” Charles Michel said in his draft speech. As FT notes, the first meeting on EU enlargement will be held in Granada, Spain, in early October. During the meeting, the leaders of the EU countries also intend to discuss the possibility of replenishing the budget of the Union, from which financial support will be provided to all candidate countries. “This is ambitious but necessary. It shows that we are serious. The window of opportunity is open”, the head of the European Council emphasized. At present, seven countries are official candidates for EU membership. Among them are Albania, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and Montenegro. The first among them to apply for EU membership was Turkey in 2005. Montenegro has been in candidate status since 2010. Ukraine applied to join the EU at the end of February 2022. In June, EU leaders approved granting the candidate status to Ukraine.