European Commission recommends opening EU membership negotiations with Ukraine

European Commission recommends opening EU membership negotiations with Ukraine
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URSULA VON DER LEYEN. PHOTO: TWITTER

The European Commission has recommended that EU states start accession negotiations with Ukraine, but Kyiv must implement further reforms.

Source: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a briefing in Brussels; European Pravda

Details: Von der Leyen said that Ukraine has implemented more than 90% of the recommendations put forward by the European Commission.

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“On this basis, we have recommended today that the Council open accession negotiations. We also recommend that the Council endorse the negotiating framework once Ukraine has implemented the ongoing reforms,” the European Commission President said. 

Von der Leyen added that the European Commission will provide a report on this topic in March 2024.

Von der Leyen praised Ukraine for implementing reforms despite the full-scale war.

“The main progress has been achieved in constitutional reform, reform in the field of justice, in the selection of the High Council of Justice, in anti-corruption processes, and combating money laundering; there have been important measures to limit the influence of oligarchs on public life, a new media law, and progress regarding national minorities. The remaining reforms are being implemented, and that’s good,” she said.

The report posted by the European Commission said that the Commission recommends that the Council adopt a negotiating framework – after Ukraine has done the following:

  • adopt the law proposed by the government on increasing the number of staff of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention of Ukraine (NACP);
  • remove provisions from the corruption prevention law that limit the NACP’s powers to check assets that have already passed the verification process and limit the NACP’s powers to check property acquired by declarants before entering public service, without prejudice to the rules applicable to ensuring national security in wartime;
  • adopt a law that will regulate lobbying according to European standards, as part of the anti-oligarchic action plan;
  • adopt a law concerning the remaining Venice Commission recommendations from June 2023 and October 2023 relating to the law on national minorities, and consider the Venice Commission recommendations relating to laws on the state language, media and education.

Ukraine must continue the fight against corruption through further corruption investigations and convictions.

Background: Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, said that the wording on Ukraine’s progress in the long-awaited European Commission report will be “concise”, but that the leaders’ final decision to open negotiations is still to come.

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