The EU 'will announce Ukraine membership talks in December'

The EU ‘will announce Ukraine membership talks in December’

  • EU leaders will discuss taking in new members at a summit later this week

The European Union will make a formal announcement about membership talks with Ukraine in December, a report has claimed.

The bloc is preparing to give Ukraine the go-ahead to begin formal talks on joining the 27-member nation group, Politico reported, citing three diplomats familiar with the matter.

‘The future of Ukraine is in our Union, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her State of the Union address last month.

She also hinted that as many as eight other nations could also be in line to join, including Western Balkan nations, Moldova, and potentially Georgia.

Ukraine was granted status as a candidate for EU membership in June, after applying for membership of the bloc just days after war broke out.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky receives European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv, Ukraine February 2. They hold a Ukrainian and EU flag together

Since the invasion, Ukraine has been represented at EU summits, and was granted candidate status in June that year.

The EU Commission will now issue a ‘progress report’ on how well Ukraine, as well as other members, are meeting the bloc’s conditions for membership.

Following the release of the report, the Commission will then make a statement that will make it ‘very hard for member states not to say let’s open negotiations’ for Ukraine, Politico cited an EU official as saying. 

The official, who was granted anonymity, said the ‘political push around’ would be too significant for ‘individual member states to resist’. He confirmed the Council would decide to open negotiations in December.

Ukraine is legally required to meet seven conditions if it wishes to join the EU. This includes stamping down on corruption and judicial reform. Ukraine said only two of seven conditions have been met, as of August.

If Ukraine does not meet conditions by December, EU leaders are still expected to make a political statement giving the green light to negotiations. The precise legal negotiations would then take place at a later date.

Leaders of the Union will meet to discuss how to reform the bloc to take in new members at a summit in Granada later this week. This is in preparation of launching a long process to prepare the EU for enlargement by a tentative deadline of 2030.

European Council President Charles Michel (right), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (left) and Volodymyr Zelensky at an EU summit in Brussels, on February 9

EU-Ukraine relations go back almost 30 years, however, after the EU signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Kyiv in 1994 and it entered into force in 1998.

In 2004 Ukraine became an EU priority partner after the ‘Orange Revolution’ against electoral fraud and corruption signalled it was on a path towards integration with the EU.

In 2014, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association and trade agreement with the EU, sparking the popular Maidan Revolution, which was followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The association and trade deal with the EU came into force in 2017.

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