The EU can expand to 30 member states – Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has expressed her belief that the European Union could expand to more than 30 member states.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this during her year-end speech at the European Parliament.

“The European Commission is opening up the rule of law reports to countries that want to become EU members. This will speed up their path to EU membership. It will also help countries implement reforms. We are opening the door to the European Union,” the European Commission President said.

That is why, according to von der Leyen, the Commission will start working on a series of pre-enlargement policy reviews to see how each area may need to be adapted to a larger EU.

According to Ursula von der Leyen, accepting new members to the EU takes work, but the European Commission will defend the principle of taking new member states.

“We know that Ukraine has made progress since it became a candidate country. We have to get ready for the completion of the EU. We have gone beyond the Iron Curtain. The new wave of EU enlargement should be a catalyst for progress. We will be able to expand the EU to 30+ countries,” the head of the European Commission stressed.

According to the European Commission President, the Commission will put forward its ideas for discussion by the leaders during the Belgian presidency. The six-month Belgian presidency of the EU Council starts on 1 January.

Previously, Olivér Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, has backed the timetable for the admission of candidate countries to the EU by 2030 proposed by European Council President Charles Michel, rather than the official position of his chief, Ursula von der Leyen.

Referring to Michel’s enlargement timetable, Olivér Várhelyi said that the European Commission should be ready to accept new members by 2030.

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