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Baerbock hints at positive signal on Ukraine's EU accession in December

by Martin Fornusek November 2, 2023 2:05 PM 2 min read
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock talks with the media prior to the EU-Ukraine Foreign Minister's meeting in Kyiv on Oct. 2, 2023. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hinted on Nov. 2 that Ukraine may receive a positive signal on EU accession talks in December, European Pravda reported.

"We want to see Ukraine as a member of our Union. And I am convinced that the European Council will give a signal this December," Baerbock said at a press conference on EU enlargement in Berlin.

The European Commission is expected to issue its evaluation of Ukraine's progress toward membership on Nov. 8, with several media reports indicating that the assessment will be positive.

The actual launch of the accession talks must be then approved by EU leaders, presumably during a summit in December. Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo also commended Ukraine's progress and said that the negotiations could start by the last month of 2023.

The head of German diplomacy acknowledged the effort required by candidate countries on their part toward integration, especially in the case of Ukraine facing a full-scale Russian invasion.

"That is why it is so important to say... that we will accompany you on this path financially, structurally, materially," Baerbock assured Ukrainian partners.

According to the German minister, the European bloc should consider granting certain benefits to candidate countries, for example, in terms of research funding or by simplifying visa procedures.

"We have to ask ourselves how we can organize the accession process in such a way that whole generations do not spend their lives in the EU waiting room," she said.

Ukraine officially applied for EU membership in late February 2022 and was granted candidate status in June last year. The country was provided with seven criteria it should fulfill in order to initiate the talks.

Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said in September that Ukraine had already "fulfilled the EU recommendations on the necessary legislative work in the judicial and media spheres."

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