President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has reaffirmed her support for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union but expressed reservations about when exactly this will happen.
Von der Leyen said this in an interview with The Washington Post.
The President of the European Commission stressed that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine “changes everything,” and there can be no more “half-hearted positions” on Kyiv’s EU membership.
“If you want to join the European Union, there are reforms that the country must implement: to have legislation to fight corruption and money laundering. These are deep structural reforms for any candidate country, which is quite a challenge,” she said.
Von der Leyen refused to predict when Ukraine would become an EU member, saying it “depends on when the country is ready to join”.
“There are criteria regarding the judiciary, the rule of law and economic readiness. There is a whole set of criteria that must be fulfilled to be able to join the single market and the European Union,” the EC President explained.
“I cannot give any deadlines. As I said, it depends on the speed of reforms,” she added.
In late June, the European Commission presented an oral assessment of Ukraine’s progress towards the EU. The European Commission believes that Ukraine has fully fulfilled two of the seven conditions necessary for the start of membership negotiations and that progress has been made on the remaining conditions.
Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna said that Ukraine would only fulfil some of the seven criteria of the European Commission by 100% by October, but that accession talks would start anyway.
Ms. Stefanishyna also expressed confidence that Ukraine would be ready for EU membership in the next two years and even earlier for NATO membership.