Who wants Ukraine to be granted EU candidate status?

"We do not need compromises," Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv during a joint press conference with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week. [Shutterstock/PX Media]

**This article has been updated with clarifications to better reflect member state positions.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the request from Kyiv to join the European Union has reverberated through the blocs’ capitals. The question of whether to grant the country ‘candidate status’, the first major step on the long, winding road to EU membership, is expected to be on the agenda of member state leaders before the end of the French presidency of the Council on 1 July.

But so far, there is little consensus on what Ukraine’s first step should look like. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy even went as far as to say that Ukraine did not “need alternatives to EU candidacy.”

“We do not need compromises,” Zelenskyy told reporters in Kyiv during a joint press conference with visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week.

Words of support for Ukraine’s EU future are abundant, candidate status often (purposefully) gets muddled with full membership, supportive comments avoid timelines, and warnings that skipping parts of the EU’s labyrinthine enlargement policy are abound.

In the map below, EURACTIV Network looks at which capitals are ready to unconditionally support granting Kyiv EU candidate status in the immediate future.

Only eight countries are unconditionally supportive.

EURACTIV made no assumptions about the upcoming opinion of the Commission on the matter.

Countries whose support for granting Ukraine candidate status is dependent on a positive assessment by the Commission (e.g. Spain) have been marked as “hesitant”. This has resulted in some member states, such as Ireland, which has expressed strong support for granting Ukraine EU candidate status but still awaits the Commission’s opinion, being marked as “hesitant”.

A similar logic was followed for countries that have been supportive of the candidate status in principle but hesitate to attach an immediate timeline such as the end of June (e.g. Portugal).

Both Slovenia and Hungary expressed support for granting Ukraine candidate status as soon as possible at the beginning of the war. Still, following elections that saw a change in government in Ljubljana and increasingly tense relations between Budapest and Kyiv, their current position is unclear.

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