20 Jun 2023 19:31

European Commission to release first verbal assessment of Ukraine as EU candidate country on June 22

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - The European Commission will release its first verbal assessment of Ukraine's progress as an EU candidate country, during the European Council's informal meeting on general matters in Stockholm on Thursday, June 22.

European Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero told Ukrainian media in Brussels on Monday that the assessment would be presented by European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi.

"Commissioner Varhelyi will provide an oral update to the Council at the upcoming informal General Affairs Council meeting on June 22, but the focus will of course be on the comprehensive enlargement report that the Commission plans to publish in the autumn," Pisonero said.

According to the meeting agenda, an oral assessment of Moldova and Georgia will also be made.

Ukraine submitted an application to join the EU on February 28, 2022. The EU leaders decided on June 23, 2022 to grant Ukraine EU candidate country status. The decision implies that Ukraine has to implement seven reforms before starting negotiations on EU membership. The European Commission is supposed to report Ukraine's progress in implementing these reforms to the Council. Apart from Ukraine, Moldova was also granted candidate country status, and Georgia could become a candidate country if it implements reforms outlined by the Council.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that 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. "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.

The procedure is very formal, and progress in it depends on a candidate country's progress, she said.

President of the European Council Charles Michel said he would propose that the issue of starting accession negotiations with Ukraine be put on the Council's agenda before the end of the year, so that the EU member states could make a decision.