European Commission to assess Ukraine's progress as EU candidate country next year - commissioner
MOSCOW. Sept 6 (Interfax) - The European Commission will assess progress made by Ukraine as a European Union candidate country next year, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said.
"We will provide our assessment on Ukraine as a candidate country next year, in 2023. We have just prepared the opinion [on Ukraine's EU membership application], and we will still come back with one part of the opinion, which is outstanding, and that is the level of compliance with the EU acquis, and that you should expect [to come] at the end of the year," Varhelyi said at a press conference following a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council in Brussels on Monday.
Speaking of prospects for granting Ukraine EU membership, Varhelyi said, "Enlargement is a merit-based process, and enlargement is always conditional upon fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria."
"When you look at our opinion, you'll see very clearly what needs [to be done] to continue to enjoy candidate status. These are the seven criteria, where we understand that there's already progress being made," he said.
"I think we have a lot of work ahead of us," Varhelyi said. "It's always easy [...] to talk about dates, to talk about next steps, but I believe in doing the job on the ground first," he said.