The European Commission is expected to recommend the start of formal talks for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union (EU), according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg. The commission could initiate a multi-year process next month, with EU leaders emphasizing the need for progress in key areas such as combating corruption. This development would be seen as a boost for Ukraine, countering reports of waning Western support for its war efforts.
Once the commission’s recommendation is formalized, EU lawmakers will need to approve the move, after which Ukraine will be required to align its legislation on matters such as the rule of law and the economy with EU standards. Ukraine claims to have implemented reforms in its judiciary and media sector.
The commission’s recommendation is set to be discussed in December. However, the positions of certain member states, including Hungary, may pose challenges to Ukraine’s accession process.
In an upcoming summit in Spain, EU leaders will discuss the enlargement of the bloc, including the incorporation of Western Balkan countries, Moldova, and Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her State of the Union speech, stated that new EU members would enhance the bloc’s geopolitical weight and capacity to act. She also expressed the goal of having more than 30 members, highlighting the importance of the next enlargement being a catalyst for progress. Von der Leyen applauded Ukraine’s progress since receiving candidate status in July 2022.
However, Bloomberg’s sources cautioned that a failure to commence Ukraine’s EU integration talks would be politically inconvenient for the commission and could be perceived as a lack of support for Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts.
Another factor to consider, as reported by Bloomberg and an anonymous EU diplomat, is the need to balance Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU with those of Western Balkan countries. It is important to demonstrate that favoritism is not being shown to Ukraine during the accession process.
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