Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Ukraine’s foreign minister said the country’s EU membership bid should not be held up by bloc reforms.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said Thursday he was “optimistic” the European Union would soon open accession negotiations with his country.
His comments came as he took part in a conference in Berlin on the future expansion of the European Union, which his country hopes to join.
Ukraine soon to be an EU member?
“We are optimistic. We have made a lot of reforms and we have adopted the necessary laws to respond to the recommendations made by Brussels,” he told the press.
The European executive is due to issue a report on 8 November on the progress made by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, and to decide whether or not to open accession negotiations, before the 27 take up the issue at a summit in Brussels in mid-December.
In a highly symbolic gesture, the EU granted candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova in June 2022. Georgia, on the other hand, was denied this status, as the bloc demanded more reforms from Tbilisi.
To move on to the next stage – the opening of accession negotiations – the European Commission has defined seven benchmarks for Kyiv. These include the fight against widespread corruption and judicial reform.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen evaluated Ukraine in September and said the war-torn country had made “great strides” in adopting the benchmarks.
Negotiations may take some time before they lead to membership.
Five countries in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) also have candidate status. Some of them have been negotiating membership for more than ten years.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the EU to adopt a more agile approach to admitting new members.
“Our main position that I brought from Kyiv is that EU reform should not take (the) enlargement process as a hostage,” Kuleba said. “We have to find the right balance between the process of reforming the European Union and continuing with enlargement.”
EU to undergo reform?
At the invitation of Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, 17 foreign ministers or representatives are in Berlin to discuss EU enlargement and reform.
Baerbock has put forward a number of proposals. These include the suggestion that infringements of the rule of law by member states should be punished more swiftly, and that candidate countries should be involved earlier in the EU’s decision-making processes.__Courtesy EuroNews