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EU Commission for accession talks with Ukraine

EU Commission chief von der Leyen spoke of a “historic day”. Her office has recommended accession talks with Ukraine – a one-off event since the country is at war. Other countries can also hope.

The EU Commission recommends starting accession negotiations with Ukraine. Before the first round of talks, however, the country will have to complete the reforms it has started. This emerges from a report by the authority headed by Ursula von der Leyen.

Moldova, Bosnia Herzegovina and Georgia can hope

Von der Leyen spoke of a “historic day”. Based on new assessments, Moldova and, to a limited extent, Bosnia and Herzegovina can also hope for the start of EU accession negotiations. According to the EU Commission, Georgia should be able to obtain accession candidate status. This is the first step in the accession process.

EU states still have to agree

If the governments of the EU states agree to the recommendation, accession negotiations could be held with a country at war for the first time in the history of the EU. Ukraine submitted its application to join the EU on February 28 last year, shortly after the start of the Russian invasion.

The heads of state and government of the EU states then granted the country candidate status on June 24, 2022. At the same time, it was agreed at the time that a decision on further steps would only be taken when seven criteria recommended by the EU Commission had been met. They are about strengthening the fight against corruption – especially at high levels.

The EU also demands that standards in the fight against money laundering be adhered to and that a law against the excessive influence of oligarchs be implemented. Von der Leyen said during a visit to Kiev at the weekend that she knew that some reforms were still being worked on. However, she is confident that the ambitious goal of opening the accession negotiations process this year can be achieved.

EU demands stronger ones Anti-corruption

As examples of outstanding issues, she cited a more vigorous fight against corruption, the adoption of a new law on lobbying activities and the tightening of regulations on the declaration of assets.

Whether the EU Commission’s recommendations will be implemented must now be decided unanimously by the EU states. Ukraine hopes that the heads of state and government of the EU countries will give their general consent to start accession negotiations at their last regular summit of the year on December 14th and 15th.

Germany wants to examine the recommendation

The federal government wants to examine the EU Commission’s recommendation before making a decision. The recommendation will be “thoroughly examined,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann. However, the federal government has emphasized several times that it sees Ukraine as an EU member in the future.

“The people in Ukraine belong to the European family,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, commenting on the EU Commission’s recommendation on EU is the geopolitical answer to Russia’s war of aggression.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj spoke of a “right step”. “Despite all the difficulties, we are moving forward,” he said in a video message. Kiev is expecting the corresponding political decision from the heads of state and government of the EU states as early as December. The Ukrainians deserved this with “their defense of European values.” Kiev will keep its word and implement all the decisions necessary for EU accession despite the ongoing Russian war of aggression, said Zelensky.

Helga Schmidt, ARD Brussels, tagesschau, November 8th, 2023 5:54 p.m

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