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Ukraine's top priority is to be ready for EU membership negotiations this year - Zelenskyy

Ukraine's top priority is to be ready for EU membership negotiations this year - Zelenskyy President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Maria Kholina

Among Ukraine's priorities is being prepared for a political decision on starting negotiations for European Union membership later this year, according to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to the College of European Commissioners.

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine has made significant progress in swiftly implementing seven recommendations from the European Commission, paving the way for a political decision to open membership negotiations this year.

"We have done a lot, and I would say – much more than could be expected from a country that has been subjected to full-scale aggression. But Ukraine is not asking for political discounts – we demonstrate the necessary political pace. We share the approach that decisions should be based on the individual achievements of countries that seek to become members of the European Union," said the President.

Previously, Ukraine received seven recommendations to initiate negotiations on EU membership.

Constitutional judiciary reform

The first recommendation involves reforming the constitutional judiciary. Ukraine has adopted and commenced the implementation of a law on the selection of Constitutional Court judges, which aligns with the Venice Commission's conclusions. An expert group will evaluate candidates, including three experts appointed based on proposals from international partners to ensure the transparency and integrity of the judge selection process. The competition is also set to begin.

High Council of Justice and High Qualification Commission of Judges

The second recommendation pertains to the reform of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualifications Commission of Judges. Rebooting these key bodies has initiated the renewal of Ukraine's entire judicial system.

Anti-corruption efforts

The third recommendation concerns anti-corruption efforts. A law on the reinstatement of electronic declarations for officials and their checks during times of war has been passed. Zelensky emphasized that declarations should be made public. A State Anti-Corruption Program has been approved, and the country is strengthening its existing anti-corruption framework.

FATF requirements

The fourth recommendation ensures Ukrainian legislation complies with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), including the adoption of a law concerning politically exposed persons.


The fifth recommendation involves addressing abuses inspired by oligarchs. Important antimonopoly legislation has been passed.


The sixth recommendation confirms that Ukrainian media legislation is aligned with EU norms.

National minorities

The seventh recommendation establishes the protection of diversity in Ukraine through safeguarding the rights of national communities. Relevant legislative changes, including the National Minorities Law, have already been adopted, and a clear vision for further steps in the field of education has been developed. There is also a state target program called Unity in Diversity.

According to the President, all of this opens up new and broad opportunities for national communities. Together with community representatives, the country will ensure compliance with the highest international standards in this regard.

"For Ukraine, this is a top priority – the readiness for a political decision this year to start negotiations on EU membership. I hope that it is the same for the European Union. We have laid a strong foundation for this," said the President.

Ukraine's EU accession

Ukraine obtained candidate status for EU accession last year. Now the country must fulfill several conditions to become a full-fledged EU member.

As of the end of June, Ukraine has met two out of the seven conditions necessary to commence negotiations, and by the end of September, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reported that the country is finalizing the implementation of all of the European Commission's recommendations at the government level.

Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian government were counting on a positive report from the European Commission and a recommendation to start accession talks as early as 2023.

However, according to Politico, the EU is likely to announce the start of negotiations on Ukraine's membership by December of this year.

For more information on predictions about when negotiations for Ukraine's EU accession might begin and potential hindrances, please refer to RBC-Ukraine's article.