Actual process of admission is set to take “many years,” PM Alexander De Croo has warned Ukrainian flags fly next to EU flags in Kiev, Ukraine on June 22, 2022. © Getty Images / Anadolu Agency / Metin Aktas

Granting Ukraine EU-candidate status is an important “symbolic message” to support Kiev amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Thursday. Actual admission of the country into the bloc, however, will take “many years” and a “lot of reforms,” he warned.

Ukraine is expected to be accorded candidate status during the ongoing European Council summit. The EU Parliament overwhelmingly supported the move on Thursday, while last week the EU Commission recommended the granting of such status to Kiev.

Speaking ahead of a bloc summit, De Croo reiterated Belgium’s support for Kiev’s EU membership aspirations.

“Ukrainians are fighting for our values, for our values of democracy, security and peace. Giving a signal to the Ukrainian population with the candidate status is a very important symbolic message,” De Croo said. (RT)