EU: Ukraine and Moldova Pursue Membership

The facts Ukraine and Moldova are impatiently awaiting the opinion of the European Commission delivered this Wednesday, November 8, which should recommend the opening of accession negotiations with them. Bosnia and Herzegovina could also benefit from a positive opinion, but this position is debated.

The Ukrainians and Moldovans will hold their breath this Wednesday, November 8, while awaiting the opinion of the European Commission: the two governments hope to obtain satisfaction from Brussels on the reforms carried out in recent months to get closer to the European Union.

The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet on December 14 in Brussels to decide whether to launch accession negotiations with new members. It would then be a resumption of the historic enlargement movement, which was put on hold for ten years after Croatia’s entry into the Union in 2013.

Ukraine and Moldova have already taken several steps, in an accelerated manner, since Russian aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. The EU granted them candidate status in June of the same year, before both countries do not officially submit their candidacy.

Seven expected reforms

The Commission’s report, published this Wednesday, must take stock of the state of reforms within the candidate countries and say whether the Commission considers that it is possible to initiate accession negotiations with them, or else It’s better to wait.

In a previous report, devoted to Ukraine, the EU highlighted seven areas in which reforms were necessary: the law on the media, that on national minorities, the fight against money laundering, against corruption and the weight of the oligarchs, as well as several reforms of the judicial system.

During a recent trip to kyiv on November 4, Ursula von der Leyen hinted at a positive decision to come. Speaking before Parliament, the President of the European Commission told Ukrainian MPs: “You have made great progress, much greater than what is expected of a country at war. You are already well over 90% of the way there. And I am convinced that you can achieve your ambitious goal: that the historic decision to open the process of accession negotiations is taken this year. »

Years of negotiations to come

In the event of a green light from the Twenty-Seven, Ukraine and Moldova will then have to initiate negotiations in more than 30 areas ranging from consumer rights to the environment, in order to integrate all of European law into their legislation. This process could take years, but will help define a road map until final integration into the EU.

Such a green light could at the same time increase the frustration of the Balkan countries who have been waiting for many years in the Union’s waiting room. Five candidates have still not been able to launch negotiations: Albania, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

This is why, according to the Politico website, a non-final version of the report – presented to the Commission a few days ago – recommended also opening negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina. This would be a positive sign for all the other candidate countries.

This proposal, however, is far from unanimous among Member States. Politico quotes a European diplomat: “We granted Bosnia candidate status on the assumption that it would encourage reforms, and since then we have seen only a rollback of the rule of law. How can we decide today to open negotiations with this country while hoping that the other candidates will implement reforms? »

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