The European Comissionthe executive arm of the European Union (EU), recommended this Wednesday to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldovaand at the same time admitted recognizing Georgia’s status as a candidate country. “Today is a historic day”said the president of the Commission when presenting this decision, Ursula von der Leyen.
Ukraine, the German official said, “continues to face enormous difficulties and the tragedy caused by the Russian war of aggressionand yet Ukrainians are transforming their country.
The recommendations of the Commission They must be submitted to the vote of the leaders of the countries of the EU at a summit scheduled for December in Brussels.
Ukraine submitted its application for accession to the EU just five days after the offensive Russia against its territory, in February 2022, and in June the country was officially recognized as a candidate to join the bloc.
When Ukraine formalized its request for membership, the The EU presented a plan of seven fundamental reforms to completeparticularly in the fight against corruption, before the talks can begin.
Von der Leyen visited Ukraine last weekend and congratulated the authorities for having completed “much more than 90%” of those required reforms. For his part, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, he applauded Commission’s “correct step” and assured that “our country has to be in the EU.”
“Ukrainians deserve it both for their defense of European values and for the fact that even in times of large-scale war we kept our word and developed state institutions,” he said.
The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Chmygal, He pledged that his country would become an “equal and strong” member of the EU.
In the case of Moldova, the country maintains that it is the subject of permanent destabilization by Russia, and must now formally begin the negotiation process with Brussels. On the social network X (formerly Twitter), the president of Moldova, Maia Sandu, thanked the Commission. “Thank you for being with us and for supporting Moldova and Moldovans on our journey to the EU,” she said.
Meanwhile, the president of Georgia, Salomé Zurabishvili, welcomed the “positive recommendation” of the Commission by recognizing the country as a candidate for accession.
He accession processHowever, it takes several years of complex negotiations between the aspiring countries and the EU institutions in Brussels, a process that can last up to a decade.
Turkey began formal accession talks in 2005, and the situation remains deadlocked. Albania was recognized as a candidate country in 2003, and began formal talks in 2009, which have not yet been completed.
Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia are also waiting in line, with growing impatience.
In the case of Bosnia, a Commission document released this Wednesday recommended the start of formal accession negotiations only after that country moves forward with a reform plan.
In general, the russian war against Ukraine sparked a broader discussion on the incorporation of new members to the bloc EU, that seeks to contain the russian influence and China.
But even European diplomats who strongly support Ukraine admit that the debate at the December summit will be difficult, and that approval to start talks could be conditional on further reforms.
Several countries, for example, insist that no ‘shortcuts’ can be made on the Ukrainian path to membership. Simultaneously, Hungary bitterly accuses Ukraine of limiting the rights of ethnic Hungarians.
“We believe that it is not appropriate to take further steps in the accession negotiations with Ukraine,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, adding that Ukraine could not “enter the European Union until there is peace.”
In the specific case of Ukraine, furthermore, it would be a country virtually destroyed by war, and this would represent an enormous additional cost for the bloc.