Ukraine Receives Green Light for EU Accession Talks
Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union gained significant momentum as the bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, recommended initiating detailed accession negotiations next year. The Commission’s report proposed the commencement of accession talks, marking a crucial step forward for Ukraine, which had been accepted as a candidate state almost 18 months ago. The same report also endorsed the initiation of accession talks with Moldova, a neighboring country to Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the day as historic, announcing the Commission’s recommendation for the Council to open accession negotiations with both Ukraine and Moldova. This development aligns with Ukraine’s ambitions, embedded in its constitution since 2019, to join both the EU and NATO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who applied for EU membership in February 2022, welcomed the announcement, emphasizing the significance of the Commission’s recommendation. However, the initiation of negotiations is contingent on meeting certain conditions, and with Ukraine currently at war, the timeline for meeting these conditions remains uncertain.
The European Commission acknowledged the Ukrainian government and Parliament’s progress in meeting the required conditions but highlighted that negotiations would only commence once these conditions are fully satisfied. Despite the positive reception of Brussels’ suggestion by Ukraine, concerns have arisen about potential shifts in attention away from Ukraine due to international events, particularly the recent conflicts in the Middle East.
A senior adviser to President Zelensky expressed concerns about the diversion of attention, stating that conflicts like the recent attacks in the Middle East could draw resources away from Ukraine’s situation. While the political decision to open negotiations has been taken, the actual commencement of negotiations is contingent on the fulfillment of specified conditions, a process that may extend over several years.