Espreso. Global

European Commission recommends to launch talks on Ukraine's accession to EU

8 November, 2023 Wednesday

On Tuesday, November 8, the European Commission released a report documenting Ukraine's progress and recommending that the process of negotiating our country's accession to the EU be launched.

This was announced at a press conference in Brussels by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Suspilne reports.

She noted that Ukraine, despite the war, is implementing deep reforms and has already completed "more than 90% of the steps" provided last year.

"Ukraine continues to face enormous difficulties and tragedy provoked by Russia's aggressive war. And yet Ukrainians are deeply reforming the country even as they wage a war of existential importance to them," she said.

According to her, major progress has been made in the field of constitutional justice, the High Council of Justice selection reform, the anti-corruption program, the fight against money laundering, important measures to curb oligarchs, and in public life. She also noted the adoption of a new media law and progress on national minorities.

Ursula von der Leyen noted that today the European Commission "recommended the opening of the accession negotiations session".

"We also recommend that the Council adopt a framework for negotiations after Ukraine has implemented the ongoing reforms, which we will report on in March 2024," she added.

The European Council still has to make a political decision.

"The European Council will meet in December. It will be on the table there. If the Council makes a political decision to say yes, we will accept the Commission's recommendation and open accession negotiations. The work can start immediately," explained von der Leyen.

According to her, Ukraine still has to implement several reforms, and the European Commission will report on the progress by March.

"We have several reforms in Ukraine, but they are still, so to speak, in the process of implementation, on the way. They have to complete this work. This is clearly stated in our recommendation, and we will report on the progress by March, but we can start working immediately when the European Council gives the green light in its decision in December," the President said.

What is known about Ukraine's accession to the EU

Kyiv applied for EU membership on February 28, 2022, at the start of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine.

On June 23, 2022, Ukraine was granted candidate status for EU membership.

In May, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine should be ready to join the EU in two years – the country expects to receive a political decision to start accession negotiations this year.

During a speech in parliament on Constitution Day, President Zelenskyy proposed five points of the Ukrainian Doctrine for discussion.

According to Espreso's sources, the European Parliament is considering the possibility of starting negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU this fall.

However, on August 17, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said that Ukraine would not be able to implement all 7 EU recommendations by October, as these are changes that have been implemented over the years.

The next day, Maria Mezentseva, Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Ukraine's Integration with the EU, noted that it is necessary to wait for the October report of the European Commission on the implementation of 7 EU recommendations by Ukraine.

On August 28, European Council President Charles Michel said that the European Union should be ready to accept new member states by 2030. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, expressed support for setting a tentative time frame for new members to join the EU.

On September 8, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said that negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU should begin by the end of this year. According to him, a clear European perspective will inspire Ukrainians on the battlefield.

On September 21, the head of the Servant of the People parliamentary faction, Davyd Arakhamia, said that the Ukrainian parliament has passed 99.9% of what is needed to start negotiations on EU membership.

On October 26, Stefanishyna expressed her confidence that Ukraine would be able to reach a good political decision on joining the EU in December.

October 28 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeals to EU leaders, calling for unity in the decision to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.

On October 31, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba assured that Ukraine would start negotiations on joining the EU this year, barring force majeure.

On November 4, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was not asking for "concessions" on its path to EU membership.

The day before, Radio Liberty's Europe editor Rikard Jozwiak said that the European Union would likely support the start of accession talks for Ukraine and Moldova and grant Georgia candidate status, but "with certain conditions."

As of early November, the European Commission considered four of the seven criteria for granting Ukraine candidate status to join the EU to be fully met.

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