In a recent videoconference with the European Commission board, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy articulated Ukraine’s accelerated efforts to meet the seven recommendations set forth by the European Commission. The aim is to pave the way for a political decision to initiate negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership within the current year.
Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine has surpassed expectations in its progress, particularly given the nation’s ongoing conflict. “We’re not seeking any political concessions. We’re maintaining the requisite political momentum because we align with the EU’s principle that membership should be merit-based,” he stated.
Zelenskyy also highlighted ongoing judicial reforms in Ukraine, including the enactment of a law concerning the selection of Constitutional Court judges, which was formulated in consultation with the Venice Commission. Additionally, Ukraine has fortified its anti-corruption framework and reinstated the electronic declaration system for officials, even under martial law conditions.
For Zelenskyy, EU membership negotiations are a high priority. “We’ve laid a robust groundwork for this. If we can eliminate geopolitical gray zones, it’s imperative that we do so,” he stressed.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, expressed her support for Ukraine’s EU aspirations. She underscored the EU’s commitment to impose further sanctions and utilize frozen assets for Ukraine’s reconstruction. “It’s remarkable that Ukraine is not only resisting Russian aggression but also undergoing significant reforms,” she noted.
Despite escalating tensions in the Middle East, the EU’s focus on Ukraine remains steadfast, assured Josep Borrell, Vice-President of the European Commission. “We’re committed to bolstering Ukraine’s resilience through both short-term and long-term security measures,” he said.
During the Crimean Platform summit, Zelenskyy urged for sustained pressure on Russia and highlighted Ukraine’s efforts in undermining Russia’s impunity in the Black Sea region. “The Russian navy is retreating from the western Black Sea, which is a monumental achievement,” he declared.
In a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal emphasized the importance of investment for Ukraine’s reconstruction and European integration. Germany has already contributed 24 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, reported Deutsche Welle.
Political analyst Andrei Buzarov believes that Ukraine could potentially receive a green light for EU membership negotiations by the end of 2023. However, Vadim Khomakha, Project Manager of the Analytical Center Digests & Analytics Ukraine, cautioned that the primary obstacle remains corruption. “Without substantial progress in combating corruption, negotiations will hit a roadblock,” he warned.
Ukraine is vigorously pursuing reforms and anti-corruption measures to align itself with EU standards, with the ultimate goal of initiating membership negotiations. While the country has garnered significant international support, challenges such as corruption and ongoing conflict could impede its path to EU membership.