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Ukraine, Moldova, Bosnia-Herzegovina Accession to EU Advances

teleSUR/ JF

Nov 8, 2023

European Union flags. | Photo: X/ @nexta_tv

On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) gave the green light to the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina, while recommending that Georgia be granted candidate country status.

"Today is a historic day because the Commission recommends that the Council begin accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova," the EC President Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that the Commission recommends the opening of European Union (EU) accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina "once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved."

The Community Executive presented reports on the progress of the ten countries with aspirations to join the EU. In view of the results obtained, the EC recommends that the Council grant Georgia the status of candidate country, with the understanding that it will adopt a series of measures.

Von der Leyen said that although Ukraine continues to face tremendous difficulties, Ukrainians are profoundly reforming their country, "even as they fight a war that is existential for them."

The country has carried out over 90 percent of the steps that the EC asked of it last year when it recommended that it become a candidate, and the main advances have been made in the reform of justice, the anti-corruption program, the fight against money laundering, limiting the influence of oligarchs on public life, the new media law, and the treatment of minorities.

"The rest of the reforms are already underway," said Von der Leyen, who also recommended that the Council adopt a negotiating framework once Ukraine has carried out the ongoing reforms, something on which she will report the EC in March next year.

In any case, she made it clear that EU leaders could make the "political decision" to open negotiations for Ukraine's entry at their summit in December, if they accept the Commission's recommendation.

"The work can start immediately, it is very technical," Von der Leyen assured, recalling that Ukraine is on track to complete the reforms it is missing.

Regarding Moldova, Von der Leyen indicated that it is suffering the effects of the Ukrainian conflict, as well as the "constant destabilization efforts against its democracy.

Despite this, she assured that the country has made "significant" efforts in reforms, such as in the area of the judiciary, corruption or organized crime. However, the EC will report next March on its progress on pending issues.

With regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Von der Leyen recognized different "positive steps" at the political and legal level but expressed "concern" about the unconstitutional legislation adopted by the Republika Srpska, which makes up the country together with the common entity of Muslims and Croats.

"The door is wide open to welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina to the accession talks," Von der Leyen said in any case, while encouraging the country to complete all the requested reforms.

Regarding Georgia, she considered that the accession candidate status is "a big step forward" and "recognizes the impressive desire of the overwhelming majority of the people of Georgia to join the European Union."

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