15 May 2023 16:14

Ukraine's readiness to start EU membership talks to be reviewed in line with common procedure - von der Leyen

BRUSSELS. May 15 (Interfax) - A strict procedure is followed by all European Union member states when considering the readiness of candidate countries, including Ukraine, to start negotiations on joining the EU, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said.

"This is a very rigid and formal way of procedure, but how we move forward depends a lot on the progress of a country," von der Leyen said at a press conference in Brussels on Monday, when asked to comment on Ukraine's desire to start EU membership talks as soon as possible.

Von der Leyen pointed out that there is a very strict roadmap for such cases. An interim report on Ukraine's preparations for negotiations should be ready in June, while a report planned for October is more important, she said.

"I think the Council in December typically deals with this report, and not only on Ukraine but also other potential candidates," she said.

Von der Leyen also mentioned her visit to Kiev last week, conducted in order "to discuss in-depth the seven steps accompanying the candidate status of Ukraine," which it is supposed to undertake.

"But still the work has to be done [...] It depends on candidate countries how fast they proceed and how good the quality is, and then to present to member states the option on how to move on," she said.