Espreso. Global

European Council announces start of talks on Ukraine's accession to EU

14 December, 2023 Thursday
20:51
EU

On Thursday, December 14, the European Council decided to start negotiations on accession to the EU with Ukraine and Moldova, and also granted candidate status to Georgia

This was reported by an Espreso TV correspondent from Brussels.

The European Council has decided to start negotiations on EU accession with Ukraine and Moldova, and granted candidate status to Georgia.

With Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU will open negotiations as soon as the required level of compliance with the membership criteria is reached, and invited the Commission to submit a report by March in order to make such a decision.

The decision of the European Commission was also announced by its President Charles Michel.

"A clear signal of hope for their people and for our continent," said the head of the European Commission.

The European Council has decided to open accession negotiations with Ukraine & Moldova. #EUCO granted candidate status to Georgia. And the EU will open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria  is reached and has invited the commission to report by March with a view to taking such a decision.

- Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) December 14, 2023

"This is a victory for Ukraine. A victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, inspires, and strengthens," Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote in response to Charles Michel's message.

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.

Media reports suggested that Ukraine would receive a recommendation to start negotiations on November 8. And on December 14-15, the EU summit will decide whether to start membership talks with Ukraine.

On October 26, Stefanishyna expressed confidence that Ukraine would be able to reach a good political decision on joining the EU in December. On October 28, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed 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. And on November 4, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was not asking for "concessions" on its way to EU membership.

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

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

On November 27, Zelenskyy spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He said that Ukraine would fulfill all the recommendations for starting accession talks before the December meeting of the European Council, including those related to the rights of national minorities and strengthening anti-corruption institutions.

On December 8, the President of Ukraine signed four European integration laws: the signing took place on the day they were passed by the Verkhovna Rada. Subsequently, the Verkhovna Rada voted to appeal to European states and institutions to support the opening of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU at a meeting of the European Council on December 15.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that Ukraine was successfully moving forward with European integration and was fighting hard for European values, so Ukraine's membership in the EU would mean its ultimate victory. 

Subsequently, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that he believed Ukraine was not ready for EU membership, but would not block the start of accession negotiations.

On November 13, members of the European Parliament called on the Council of Europe to decide on the start of negotiations on Ukraine and Moldova's accession to the EU at its meeting on December 14-15.

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