Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs John Brady TD has welcomed the decision by the EU Council this week to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
Teachta Brady said this represents both an important political statement of faith in the future of both countries within the European Union, and a recognition of the important work and democratic strides which are ongoing within Ukraine and Moldova to meet the standards required to qualify for EU accession.
The Wicklow TD said:
“I want to offer my congratulations to the governments of both Ukraine and Moldova following the decision by the EU Council to grant both countries candidate status for EU membership.
“When I hear discussions on the expansion of the EU, of the application for membership of countries such as Ukraine and Moldova, I am given to thinking back to Irelands application to join what was then the EEC, and the implications that this would have for the future of our country.
“At that time, we were the poorest country in Europe, a status now bestowed on Moldova. And while there are a great many problems which remain in this country, there is no doubt that the EU has contributed much to the economic growth of our country.
“I have no doubt that in the years and decades ahead that membership of the EU will offer the same opportunities to Ukraine and Moldova to experience similar growth.
“Earlier this year, I along with colleagues from the EU Affairs Committee travelled to Moldova and Romania.
“Where we met with Government Ministers and representatives, along with NGO groups.
“I was particularly impressed with the efforts of both countries, despite the real challenges which their efforts place upon them, to provide whatever assistance which was asked of them for Ukrainian refugees attempting to flee the Russian invasion.
“Ambassador Larisa Miculet of Moldova and Ambassador Gerasko Larysa, of Ukraine have been regular visitors to Leinster House over the last few months.
“I want to offer my congratulations to both Ambassadors on their hard work here in Ireland to secure support for the campaign for EU membership.
“Again, I want to offer my congratulations to both Ukraine and Moldova, and state that I believe that this important political statement represents a statement of belief by the member states of the EU in the future of both countries.”