Shaheen Statement on European Commission’s Recommendation for Ukraine & Moldova to Join EU

June 17, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the SFRC Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, released the following statement in response to the European Commission recommendation’s today that Ukraine and Moldova be granted candidate status to become members of the European Union. 

“I applaud the European Commission’s recommendation that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU candidate status – the crucial first step toward joining the European Union. Both countries have demonstrated remarkable resolve to pursue democratic futures amid continued aggression and malign influence from Russia. Despite two wars waged by Putin, including the bloody invasion underway now, Ukraine has continued to chart its path towards the greater Euro-Atlantic community. Similarly, Moldova has continued to advance a pro-EU reform agenda amid a challenging domestic situation, all while welcoming hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees,” said Shaheen. “Today, the European Commission made an important and historic decision, and I look forward to working with both Moldova and Ukraine to support their ambitious reform agenda to meet the criteria for membership. 

She continued: “It is not surprising that the European Commission decided that Georgia is not in a position to advance their membership application. The people of Georgia want a future with the EU, and the Georgian government must enact required democratic reforms to uphold its commitment to their people. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Biden administration to support the Georgian government in addressing these critical reforms. 

Shaheen concluded: “I am also disappointed there was no mention of countries in the Western Balkans with EU aspirations. The United States and the European Union have worked tirelessly to support these nations to strengthen their democratic institutions. We must find a path forward for Albania and North Macedonia, who are ready for the next step of accession negotiations. And we must double down on our efforts to root out corruption, improve the economic landscape and advance key reforms to ensure that the Western Balkans are not overlooked in this historic moment to grow the European community. I look forward to the upcoming EU Summit on the Western Balkans and hope the EU will demonstrate robust support for the region.” 

Shaheen, also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and the Ukraine Caucus, leads action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. Shaheen recently led a bipartisan congressional delegation with Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) to the Balkans to convey continued U.S. support for its allies amid Russian aggression against Ukraine and the implications for European security in the region. In addition, legislation co-led by Shaheen to speed up military assistance to Ukraine and Eastern European nations was recently signed into law. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June. Shaheen also recently led a bipartisan resolution recognizing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 30th anniversary of independence, addressing the political situation and reaffirming U.S. support for the nation’s pro-democratic aspirations. 

Later this month, Shaheen will lead a bipartisan congressional delegation with fellow Senate NATO Observer Group co-chair Thom Tillis (R-NC) to the NATO Summit in Spain.