The European Commission prepares for accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova by working on a negotiation framework, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Jan. 17.
The European Council has agreed to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova on Dec. 14 during the summit in Brussels amid worries that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban would block this decision and uncertainty over aid from the U.S.
"The people of Ukraine have fought hard to achieve this goal, not only on the battlefield but also through the work of their democratic institutions," von der Leyen said.
"It is in a matter of just a few months that they have passed new laws to expand national minority rights, to improve the judicial system, and to ensure checks and balances on power," she added.
According to von der Leyen, the European Commission starts the screening process alongside defining the negotiation framework. Also, the Commission will focus on potential reforms to further expand the now 27-member union.
Along with opening accession talks with Ukraine, in December, the European Council granted candidate status to Georgia and agreed to launch accession negotiations with Moldova and also with Bosnia and Herzegovina when the necessary criteria were met.
"This house has already put forward bold ideas for a reform of our treaties," von der Leyen said. "Next month, the Commission will set out our ideas in a communication to the European Parliament and the Council, ahead of the leaders' discussion organized by the Belgian Presidency."
President Volodymyr Zelensky met with von der Leyen on Jan. 16 during the Davos forum to discuss key priorities for Ukraine and the beginning of Ukrainian law screening by the EU.
Zelensky assured that Ukrainian law screening is another step forward to Ukraine's EU membership negotiations.
In return, von der Leyen said that the European Commission supports the Ukrainian potential membership in the EU and funds providing for reforms and reconstruction in Ukraine.