EU nears greenlight for Ukraine membership talks

Flags of the European Union and Ukraine in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels, February 28, 2022
Flags of the European Union and Ukraine in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels, February 28, 2022

The European Union is poised to greenlight the Ukraine’s accession negotiations, but the final wording remains pending, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg on Nov. 7.

The European Commission is scheduled to convene on Nov. 7 for the ultimate decision on whether to officially propose that Ukraine initiates talks for joining the bloc. While optimism surrounds the outcome, additional stipulations may be placed on Kyiv.

Read also: EU accession negotiations could start this year, says foreign minister

The European Commission is leaning towards advising member states to engage in formal negotiations following the implementation of key reforms addressing issues like national minorities, anti-corruption measures, “deoligarchization,” and lobbying, said Bloomberg’s sources.

Read also: Von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv to discuss Ukraine’s accession path, financial support and to address parliament

The Commission’s verdict, set to be unveiled on Nov. 8, will require approval from member states during an EU leaders’ summit in December.

Ukraine has complied with four out of seven conditions necessary for the initiation of accession negotiations, Radio Free Europe previously reported.

Ukraine’s path to EU membership: What we know

Just four days after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, on Feb. 28, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed an application for Ukraine to join the European Union.

The European Commission recommended granting Ukraine EU candidate status on June 17, 2022 and set seven conditions for the start of accession negotiations:

·         Reforming the Constitutional Court

·         Continuation of overall judicial reform

·         Strengthening the fight against corruption, including appointing a new head for the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office’s (SAPO)

·         Concrete steps to combat money laundering

·         Implementing the so-called “anti-oligarch” laws

·         Harmonization of audiovisual legislation with European legislation

·         Amending legislation on national minorities

Read also: EU will benefit from Ukraine’s eventual membership, FM Kuleba insists

At a summit on June 23, 2022, EU leaders supported granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. The European Council called on the European Commission to report on the progress of candidate countries in meeting the conditions outlined in their membership applications and pledged to decide on further steps “as soon as all these conditions are fully met.”

In early March 2023, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced that Ukraine had fulfilled all seven EU recommendations. According to him, Kyiv expects a political decision to start accession negotiations later this year.

On June 22, European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi stated that Ukraine has met two of the seven recommendations of the European Commission to start negotiations for EU entry, and other recommendations are still in the process of implementation.

European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius declared on Aug. 21 that “Ukraine’s progress towards meeting the conditions for EU accession is impressive.” He added that the reforms already undertaken, particularly in the judicial system and media freedom, are “crucial, almost fundamental, like the glue that binds the EU.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine