Date: 14 November 2023 Author: Szymon Polewka

European Commission Proposes Opening EU Accession Talks For Ukraine

In early November, the European Commission recommended opening EU accession negotiations with Ukraine once it meets final conditions. The decision was taken by the bloc as the Commission released its long-awaited annual enlargement report. For the first time, the European Union recommended opening EU membership negotiations with a country formally being at war.

SOURCE: atlantic council

In the report, attention was drawn to Ukraine’s successes in implementing reforms related to media freedom, judiciary, constitutional tribunal, and combating the shadow economy. The talks should formally be launched once Kyiv satisfies the remaining conditions related to stepping up the fight against corruption. The European Commission expects the removal of the personnel limit at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and an increase in its operational capabilities. Ukraine should also adopt a law on lobbying in line with EU standards. Ukraine has also committed to respecting and strengthening the rights of national minorities.

EU leaders are expected to decide whether to endorse the recommendations at a summit in Brussels in December. Neighboring Moldova as well as Georgia also received a similar message from Brussels. The EU is also ready to open accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, once the necessary degree of compliance is achieved.

The commission’s recommendation coincides with the setback of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, as outlined in an interview with General Valeriy Zaluzhny for “The Economist”. In addition, the matter of Ukraine was somewhat overshadowed by the Middle East conflict. In a nation where current support for EU membership exceeds 80 percent, the prospect of accession has a largely positive impact on society, boosting morale in the ongoing struggle against the invader. Within the EU, however, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban voiced objection to Ukraine’s membership talks with the EU, criticizing Kyiv’s treatment of Hungarian minorities in Transcarpathia.
 
References:

1. Komisja Europejska rekomenduje rozpoczęcie negocjacji akcesyjnych z Ukrainą, Polska Agencja Prasowa, November 8, 2023 https://www.pap.pl/aktualnosci/komisja-europejska-rekomenduje-rozpoczecie-negocjacji-akcesyjnych-z-ukraina

2. Ukraina bliżej Unii Europejskiej. Jest stanowisko Komisji Europejskiej, Rzeczpospolita, November 8, 2023 https://www.rp.pl/polityka/art39376761-ukraina-blizej-unii-europejska-jest-stanowisko-komisji-europejska

3. President von der Leyen calls for Ukraine to join the EU and announces an additional €25 million for civilians in Gaza, European Commission, November 6, 2023
https://commission.europa.eu/news/president-von-der-leyen-calls-ukraine-join-eu-and-announces-additional-eu25-million-civilians-gaza-2023-11-06_en

4. Tobias Gerhard Schminke, Ukraine: 92% want EU membership by 2030, euractiv, March 3, 2023.
https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/ukraine-92-want-eu-membership-by-2030/

5. Claudia Chiappa, Orbán: Ukraine not ready for EU membership talks, Politico, November 10, 2023
https://www.politico.eu/article/viktor-orban-hungary-ukraine-is-not-ready-for-membership-talks/

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