European Union opens membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova

With Hungary's far-right Viktor Orban abstaining—and leaving the room to avoid being present for the vote—the other 26 leaders of the European Union unanimously agreed to begin accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova.

Mr Zelensky was delighted by the EU's announcement: "This is a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, inspires and strengthens," he said on X. Ukraine and Moldova applied to join the EU after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. They were both given candidate status last June, while Georgia was passed over at the time.

Georgia—also partially occupied by Russia following a brief 2008 war—was given candidate status at yesterday's meeting. Other candidates in talks include Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia, with Bosnia yet to begin talks and Turkey's candidate status frozen after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assumed dictatorial powers there.