The European Commission issued an opinion on Friday, June 17 recommending that Ukraine be granted European Union candidate status, Deutsche Welle reports.
"Ukraine has clearly demonstrated its aspiration and determination to live up to European values and standards," President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.
In a later tweet, von der Leyen said: "Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream."
The decision paves the way for EU government leaders to sign off on the recommendation at a Brussels summit next Thursday and Friday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the Commission's decision on Twitter. "I commend the positive EU Commission conclusion on Ukraine's candidate status. Its the first step on the EU membership path that'll certainly bring our victory closer." Zelenskyy went on to thank von der Leyen and the executive "for a historic decision." Kyiv has sought candidate status since 2014.
The Commission on Friday also proposed making Moldova an EU membership candidate. The EU's executive said that this was premised on the understanding that the country would carry out reforms.
Von der Leyen said that Moldova "is on a real pro-reform, anti-corruption and European path," adding, "It still has a long way to go. But we believe it has the potential to live up to the criteria."
The country shares a long stretch of border with Ukraine.
Von der Leyen said that in the case of Georgia, the country needed to "design a clear path towrds structural reform" along with an assessment on how it would meet a number of conditions before granting candidate status.