EC recommends starting accession negotiations with Ukraine, Moldova

(VOVWORLD) - The European Commission has recommended opening accession negotiations on EU membership with Ukraine and Moldova once those countries complete several requested reforms.

In a 1,200-page report released on Wednesday, the EC provided a detailed assessment of the progress made by Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Georgia, 6 Balkan countries, and Turkey on their respective paths toward accession to the EU.

The EC said Ukraine and Moldova have made significant progress. But it has asked these two countries to complete judicial reforms in anti-corruption, adjust a lobbying law to comply with EU standards, and ensure the rights of ethnic minorities.

The EC recommends that once those reforms are completed, the EU should invite Ukraine and Moldova to negotiate to officially join the bloc. This is good news for Ukraine, now deadlocked in its conflict with Russia.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the report, saying this is an historic moment which opens up a European future for Ukraine.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine has demonstrated resolve in making substantial progress toward completing the 7 steps of the European Commission Opinion on Ukraine's EU membership application.

“Ukraine has completed well over 90% of the necessary steps that we set out last year in our report. Just to give you an idea, major progress has been made on constitutional justice reform, on selecting a High Council of Justice, on anti-corruption, and on anti-money laundering,” said Leyen.

The EC report and recommendations will be submitted to the heads of EU countries at the EU summit next month.

If the recommendations are approved, the EC will immediately invite Ukraine and Moldova to begin negotiating to join the EU. The process could take years, because these two countries need to adjust their legal systems to comply with EU laws.

The EC also recommended giving Georgia official candidate status, and proposed establishing an "Accession Fund" of 6.4 billion USD to support reform efforts in countries applying to join the EU.