Ukraine is real, but still not making enough progress to be able to start accession negotiations with the EU | War in Ukraine

The European Commission on Wednesday, in an interim assessment, assessed that Ukraine had made progress towards opening accession talks with the European Union, but underlined that several criteria had not yet been met.

Ukraine has met two of the seven conditions set by the EU for the start of accession negotiations, according to an oral report delivered in Brussels to the ambassadors of the 27 member states by Hungarian Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhely.

“Two met, five in progress,” a diplomat summed up.

The European Union granted Ukraine candidate status in a highly symbolic gesture following Russia’s invasion last June.

Seven definitions

The commission set seven benchmarks for Kyiv as conditions for opening accession talks, including strengthening the fight against widespread corruption and judicial reforms.

“One should not jump to conclusions,” said a diplomat. “It is not final at this point. The actual report will be released in October,” he stressed.

European diplomats noted that the two conditions met were the reduction of political influence in the media and reforms of the judiciary.

The fight against corruption

But the fight against corruption remains a problem, diplomats acknowledged after the commission’s briefing. “Zelensky has warned that we cannot fight against Russia and the oligarchs at the same time,” one of them pointed out.

Kyiv is pushing for membership talks to begin early this year, but the opening talks need approval from the 27 EU member states.

While Poland and the Baltic states support Kiev’s membership application, some, such as Germany and the Netherlands, do not want to rush the process.

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“If not today, one might wonder if we can get lasting results in four months”, opined a skeptical diplomat.


Also, Hungary and Greece have made no secret of their irritation at the blacklist established by Ukrainian authorities to allow companies and people accused of aiding the Russian war effort.

After Hungarian bank OTP’s “unfair” inscription on the list, Budapest condemned “Ukraine’s growing hostility towards Hungary” and Athens delayed the adoption of the 11th European sanctions package against Russia to protest the registration of Greek shipowners. The member state representative said on Wednesday.

Moldova, which gained candidate status at the same time as Ukraine, has met only three of the nine conditions set for the start of accession negotiations. And Georgia has met three of the 12 established criteria for candidate status, diplomats said.

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