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EU to approve Ukraine for membership process – Reuters

Western officials had previously said widespread corruption was one of the main obstacles preventing the country from joining the bloc

The European Commission will officially recommend starting membership negotiations with Ukraine on Wednesday, Reuters has reported. An unnamed senior Ukrainian government official told the agency that Kiev expected the Commission to deliver a “positive” appraisal of its membership bid, according to a Monday article.

The final decision will be made at an EU summit in December, with the bloc’s executive body having to prepare a report on Ukraine’s progress across seven reform areas by that time. The document will also assess the progress made by Moldova and Georgia, Reuters reported.

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A senior French diplomat told the media outlet that the “consensus is clear” overall, and that support for Kiev remained “very solid.

During her visit to the Ukrainian capital on Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the country had met over 90% of the requirements to start formal membership negotiations. She added that corruption and the rights of ethnic minorities were among the areas that required work in the meantime.

Speaking last month, von der Leyen emphasized that the accession process was strictly “merit-based,” and Ukraine should not expect any shortcuts on the path to full membership.

Her predecessor as president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has also argued that the Eastern European country is too corrupt to join the EU anytime soon.

Around the same time, outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stressed that setting a specific date for EU expansion was unwise, after European Council President Charles Michel said he would like to see Kiev in the EU by 2030.

The decision to launch accession talks with Ukraine would require the unanimous consent of all 27 member states.


READ MORE: Ukraine ‘one of the most corrupt countries in the world’ – EU state’s PM

Hungary has repeatedly expressed its misgivings regarding Kiev’s potential membership. According to the country’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Budapest will block EU accession talks for Ukraine as long as Kiev continues to discriminate against the Hungarian ethnic minority in the west of the country.

 

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