The French president praised the “political gesture” of offering candidacy to Ukraine and Moldova File photo: French President Emmanuel Macron gestures during a press conference in Kiev, June 16, 2022 © Alexey Furman/Getty Images

Granting Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidate for EU membership is a “political gesture” that sends a “strong signal” to Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday. Even as Kiev and Chisinau celebrated, other EU leaders warned that the status was largely symbolic, with years of reforms and negotiations before actual membership would be in the cards.

The EU’s recognition of the “European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia is a strong signal towards Russia in the current geopolitical context,” Macron said at a press conference in Brussels. Granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova sends “a very strong message,” he added. (RT)