European Union leaders should allow formal talks on Ukraine and Moldova’s accession to the bloc to start once both countries have finalised the necessary reforms, the European Commission has said.
“In light of the results achieved by Ukraine and Moldova, and of the ongoing reform efforts, the Commission has recommended that the Council opens accession negotiations with both countries,” the Commission announced.
A long-awaited progress report on candidate countries’ membership bids published Wednesday confirms Ukraine has met four of the seven pre-conditions for opening negotiations, with some work still to be done on anti-corruption, de-oligarchisation, and the rights of minorities.
Moldova also needs to finalise judicial reforms and introduce further anti-graft measures.
Upon the Commission’s recommendation, EU leaders could back the opening of accession talks during the next European Council summit on December 12, a decision which requires the unanimous blessing of all 27 member states.
“Enlargement is a vital policy for the European Union. Completing our Union is the call of history, the natural horizon of our Union,” Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said.
“Past enlargements have shown the enormous benefits both for the accession countries and the EU. We all win,” she added.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu said Wednesday’s report by the European Union’s executive recommending an initiation of accession talks for Chisinau to join the bloc was an “important milestone”.
“Moldova is firmly on the path for EU membership and we will continue working relentlessly towards this goal,” she said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
EU executive proposes to grant Georgia EU candidate status
The European Union’s executive recommended on Wednesday that the bloc grants formal candidate status to Georgia, if and when it fulfils remaining conditions.
“The Commission recommends that the (European) Council grants Georgia the status of a candidate country on the understanding that certain reforms that steps are taken,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The outstanding conditions include Georgia aligning itself with the EU’s foreign policy sanctions, pushing back against disinformation and political polarisation, as well as ensuring a free and fair 2024 election.
Talks for EU membership with Bosnia once certain conditions are met
The European Union’s executive recommended on Wednesday that the bloc starts membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina once it meets outstanding conditions.
“The (European) Commission recommends the opening of EU accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved,” said the Brussels-based EU executive.
The tightly-contested recommendation will inform a decision in mid-December by the 27 national EU leaders on whether to start formal accession talks with the Western Balkan country.
The 27 need unanimity to endorse an invitation to Sarajevo, something that will be hard to achieve as EU countries are split, with Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia in support, but the Netherlands and others firmly against.
“We open the door very wide and we invite Bosnia and Herzegovina now to go through this door,” said Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
“For that, of course there has to be activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Results have to be shown but the door is now open very wide,” she told a news conference.