European heads of state discuss Ukraine, Parliament backs boost in ammunition production
Nearly 50 European heads of state and government travelled to Bulboaca, Moldova, to discuss stability and peace on the continent on Thursday. That is "an important message" for the host country and Ukraine, said Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo at the start of the European Political Community summit.
The European Political Community is a political consultative forum created last year to promote stability and security in Europe.
When asked about the EU candidate status of Moldova and Ukraine, De Croo referred to the European Commission, which is due to produce a report this year on the progress the countries have made towards accession. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warned of doubts over EU and NATO membership during a speech at the summit.
"All European countries that share a border with Russia and do not want Russia to tear off part of their territory must become full members of NATO and the EU"
"All European countries that share a border with Russia and do not want Russia to tear off part of their territory must become full members of NATO and the EU," he said. "There are only two alternatives: either open war, or creeping Russian occupation."
Zelensky added that "a clear and positive decision" on the start of EU accession negotiations "is now necessary". Ukraine has been a candidate member since June last year. He also expects "clear invitations to join NATO and security guarantees during the accession process" at next month's NATO summit in Vilnius.
The European Parliament, meanwhile, approved a plan to boost ammunition and missile production with 500 million euros. MEPs backed the Act in Support of Ammunition Production presented by the European Commission a month ago, a plan to deliver 1 million pieces of ammunition to Ukraine within a year. It should help maintain supplies to the Ukrainian army and replenish the stocks of European armies.
French president Emmanuel Macron and president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during the EPC Summit in Moldova © LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP