Has Ukraine Made Good On Its Promises As It Awaits EU Membership Bid Report?
The Kyiv government launched an attempt to join the European Union in the weeks after Moscow’s invasion in 2022 and was officially named a candidate to join last June.
On Wednesday, the bloc is expected to publish a report on Ukraine’s fulfillment of key demands. If it has met the criteria it can move to formal accession talks.
On Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Kyiv had completed “way over 90%” of seven reform benchmarks Brussels had set, including curbing oligarch power.
Concerns Over Continued US Support
The broad expectation in Brussels is Ukraine has made good on initial reforms. If Kyiv does get the nod, it will still only be at the start of a crucial process of reforms that could last for years.
While Turkey started accession talks in 2005, Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro are in negotiations. Bosnia became a candidate in December and Georgia wants to become one.
A positive signal from the EU could offer the Kyiv government a vital boost at a difficult time when Ukrainian forces have failed to make a breakthrough and questions hover over US support.
No Shortcuts On The Road To Membership
“Ukraine will make the European Union stronger and more secure,” Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, noted ahead of the report.
However, the Netherlands and others insist there can be no shortcuts on the road to membership. Hungary accuses Ukraine of restricting the rights of ethnic Hungarians.
“It’s obviously heated, difficult – if it weren’t, we would have a compromise decision already,” according to a senior European diplomat.
EU Must Reform Itself Before Expanding
Wrapped up with the pressing membership push is a far more fundamental debate on how to make the 27-nation bloc manageable if it reaches 30 members or more.
Allowing in a war-torn nation could spell a major shift for the EU. Some members insist the bloc must reform itself first, before thinking about expanding.
EU leaders will discuss the report at a December summit, where all will have to unanimously agree to greenlight the opening of membership talks with Ukraine.