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Official: Kyiv able to fulfill rest of EU's candidate criteria by October

by Dinara Khalilova June 23, 2023 5:16 PM 2 min read
Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna attends the Acting for Survivors event on June 15, 2023. (Eugen Kotenko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Ukraine was counting on a more positive interim assessment of the country's progress in fulfilling the EU's candidate criteria, according to Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna.

The European Commission announced on June 22 that Ukraine has fully completed two out of seven steps needed to launch EU accession talks. Stefanishyna predicts that Kyiv should be able to implement the remaining requirements by October.

"We must understand that the remaining five blocks of recommendations are not at the zero stage. A lot of work was done during the year. In fact, the decisions are already made. Some of them need to be adopted only technically," the official said on national television, as cited by the Ukrinform news outlet.

Ukraine officially applied for EU membership in late February 2022 and was granted candidate status in June last year. To start the membership negotiation process, Kyiv needs to implement seven reforms outlined by the European Commission.

The two steps declared to be fully completed are the judicial system reform with the creation of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges and bringing media legislation into full compliance with the EU directive.

According to the European Commission's assessment, Ukraine has achieved "good progress" in implementing the reform of the Constitutional Court and made "some progress" in the remaining four steps. Those are related to anti-corruption efforts, anti-money laundering measures, de-oligarchization, and protecting the rights of national minorities.

"Our ambitions were greater - we expected, in particular, that the block of measures related to anti-corruption would be evaluated more deeply," Stefanishyna said. "We also expected that before this evaluation, we would fully adopt the legislation on launching the Constitutional Court reform, but it was adopted only in the first reading."

"However, I believe that for the European Commission to recognize any block of obligations as fully completed less than a year after receiving candidate status is an unprecedented story, as most countries have been working on implementing such recommendations for years."

The European Commission is set to give an official written assessment of Ukraine's progress in fulfilling the EU's candidate criteria in October 2023.

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