EU commission recommends Ukraine candidacy - Taipei Times

EU commission recommends Ukraine candidacy – Taipei Times

EU commission recommends Ukraine candidacy

AP, BRUSSELS

The EU’s executive arm yesterday recommended making Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, a first step on what was expected to be a long road for the war-torn country to join the 27-nation bloc.

The European Commission delivered its proposal to award Ukraine candidate status after a fast-tracked analysis of answers to a questionnaire.

The Ukrainian government applied for EU membership less than a week after Russia invaded the country in February.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks at a meeting at the commission headquarters in Brussels yesterday.

Photo: AFP

“Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We want them to live with us, the European dream.”

The leaders of the bloc’s members are scheduled to discuss the recommendation during a summit in Brussels next week.

The endorsement, while a strong sign of solidarity with Ukraine, is likely to take years or even decades to materialize into EU membership.

Along with Ukraine, the commission also recommended giving Moldova EU candidate status. It also reviewed Georgia’s application, but said the Caucasus nation first needs to fulfill a number of conditions.

Adding new members requires unanimous approval from all existing EU members. They have expressed differing views on how quickly to add Ukraine to their ranks.

Ukraine’s bid received a boost when the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania visited the country on Thursday and vowed to back its candidacy.

To be admitted, potential newcomers need to demonstrate that they meet EU standards on democratic principles, and they must absorb about 80,000 pages of rules covering everything from trade and immigration to fertilizer and rule of law.

Before Russia’s invasion, the commission in the past few years repeatedly expressed concern about corruption in Ukraine, and the need for deep political and economic reforms.

“Yes, Ukraine deserves a European perspective. It should be welcomed as a candidate country, on the understanding that important work remains to be done,” Von der Leyen said. “The entire process is merits-based. It goes by the book and therefore, progress depends entirely on Ukraine.” Ukraine has an association agreement with the EU, which is aimed at opening Ukraine’s markets and bringing it closer to Europe. It includes a far-reaching free-trade pact.

Von der Leyen said that due to the 2016 agreement, “Ukraine has already implemented roughly 70 percent of the EU rules, norms and standards.”

“It is taking part in many important EU programs,” she said. “Ukraine is a robust parliamentary democracy. It has a well-functioning public administration that has kept the country running even during this war.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was grateful to the commission’s recommendation, calling it “the first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer.”

This content was originally published here.

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