UPDATED: Zelenskiy calls EU report on membership progress ‘right step in history’

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Nov 8 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday welcomed the European Union executive’s recommendation to open membership talks with Kyiv, describing it as the “right step in history”.

“Ukrainians deserve this both for their protection of European values, and for the fact that even at times of a full-scale war, we keep our word by developing state institutions,” he said on Telegram messenger.

“The Commission recommends that the (EU) Council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine,” said the Brussels-based European Commission.

It added the talks should formally be launched once Kyiv satisfied remaining conditions related to stepping up fight against corruption, adopting a law on lobbying in line with EU standards and strengthening national minority safeguards.

The recommendation is an important milestone on Kyiv’s road to Western integration and a geo-political gambit for the EU as Ukraine has been fighting against a large-scale Russian invasion since February 2022.

EU leaders are expected to decide on whether to accept the Commission’s recommendation at a summit in December.

The European Commission made a similar recommendation for Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbour. It also said Georgia should receive the status of a membership candidate once it meets certain conditions.

It said the EU should begin membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina “once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved”.

“Completing our Union is the call of history,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“Completing our Union also has a strong economic and geopolitical logic. Past enlargements have shown the enormous benefits both for the accession countries and the EU. We all win.”

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