Ukraine's bid to join the European Union received a major boost on Friday morning, after the bloc's executive said it believed the country should be formally considered for candidate status in the wake of Russia's invasion.
Speaking in Brussels, the European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission recommends "that Ukraine is given candidate status. This is of course on the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further reforms."
In the view of the Commission, Ukraine has clearly demonstrated the country's aspiration and determination to live up to European standards."
Leaders of the 27 EU member states will now meet for a summit next week to discuss the Commission's opinion. Even if the member states agree that Ukraine should be a candidate nation -- which is far from certain -- the process to join the EU is complicated and takes, on average, just under five years to complete, according to the think tank, UK in a Changing Europe.