The European Commission has recommended that EU member states start accession talks with Ukraine, but Kyiv must implement some of the reforms that still are not implemented.
The head of the European Commission stated this, Ursula von der Leyen, at a briefing in Brussels.
Von der Leyen said that Ukraine has implemented more than 90% of the recommendations put forward by the Commission, along with granting candidate status to Ukraine.
“On this basis, we have recommended today that the (European) Council open accession negotiations (with Ukraine). We also recommend that the Council endorse a negotiating framework once Ukraine has implemented the ongoing reforms,” she said.
Von der Leyen added that the Commission will provide a report on Ukraine’s implementation of reforms in March 2024.
She praised Ukraine for continuing to implement reforms despite the full-scale war with Russian invaders.
“The main progress has been made in constitutional reform, justice sector reform, selection to the High Council of Justice, anti-corruption processes, fight against money laundering, important measures to limit the influence of oligarchs on public life, a new media law, progress on national minorities. The remaining reforms are being implemented, which is good,” she said.
The report released by the EC says that the Commission recommends that the Ukrainian Parliament adopt a negotiating framework after Ukraine.
- Adopts the government’s proposed law to increase the staffing of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine;
- removes from the law on corruption prevention provisions that limit the NAACP’s authority to verify assets that have already been verified and determine the NAACP’s power to verify property acquired by declarants before entering public service without prejudice to the rules applicable to national security in time of war;
- adopt a law regulating lobbying according to European standards as part of the anti-oligarchic action plan;
- adopt a law addressing the remaining recommendations of the Venice Commission of June 2023 and October 2023 related to the Law on National Minorities, and take into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission related to the laws on the state language, media and education.
In its report on enlargement, the European Commission explained what steps it expects Ukraine to take in reforming its legislation on national minorities on its way to EU membership.
Ukraine should continue to fight corruption through further investigations and convictions of corruption.
The document states that Ukraine is obliged to amend the laws relating to the rights of national minorities.
“Following the final provisions of the new version of the Law on National Minorities (Communities), the Cabinet of Ministers is obliged to prepare and submit to the Parliament a draft law on amendments to the laws on education, the state language and the media within six months from the date of entry into force of this law,” the document says.
“Ukraine should adopt a law that takes into account the remaining recommendations of the Venice Commission of June 2023 and October 2023 related to the Law on National Minorities, as well as the recommendations of the Venice Commission related to the laws on the state language, media and education,” the document says.
The Commission’s report is a recommendation to the European Council. This body brings together the leaders of all 27 EU member states, which will decide in December whether to open accession talks with Ukraine.
At the same time, Hungary said it would block the start of EU accession talks with Ukraine until Hungarian demands on the language of education are met (in Hungarian for the Hungarian minority in the Transcarpathia region of Ukraine).
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Olha Stefanishyna, told Ukrainian media that Budapest’s political statements about “blocking Ukraine’s accession to the EU” “will not prevent real work” on the language of education for the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.