Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, confirmed on Wednesday that the Commission has begun the first technical evaluation process of Ukraine’s legislation, a preliminary step before starting the accession negotiations for Ukraine to join the European Union.
“As part of the preparations for accession talks, we are initiating the scrutiny process and formulating the negotiation framework. In the meantime, we will start working on our own reforms to get ready for a Union of more than 30 member states,” von der Leyen stated in front of the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, France.
European Union announcement
The German conservative leader has confirmed Brussels’ move to start the preliminary examination that reflects the extent of a candidate country’s alignment with EU legislation and outlines future reforms to ensure the candidate country’s legal framework is compatible with EU standards.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had already announced on Tuesday an agreement for the European Commission to begin this first technical process before starting accession negotiations to the European Union. Following a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum currently being held in Davos, Zelensky stated that Brussels would proceed with this initial assessment, following the decision of the member states last December to discuss Ukraine’s entry into the bloc.
Meanwhile, the head of the European executive emphasized that this semester would see progress in internal reflection on the necessary reforms within the EU to ensure the proper functioning of an EU with over 30 member states. To this end, she confirmed that next month she would present a series of ideas to stimulate debate.
“Only we within the EU can answer this question. Next month, the Commission will present its ideas in a communication to the European Parliament and the Council, ahead of the discussion organized by the Belgian presidency,” she noted.
Regarding the challenges ahead in 2024
Von der Leyen highlighted the global year of elections, with polls in the United States, Russia, and the European Union, emphasizing that it comes in a general climate of instability due to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and the crisis in the Red Sea.
Von der Leyen noted that after the energy and food crises triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, global trade is now being affected by Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden. “Our world is in an era of conflict and confrontation, of fragmentation and fear,” she acknowledged.
Therefore, the Commission President called for “focus and responsibility” within the Union. “Only together can we tackle the serious challenges we face. The biggest lesson from these four years is that when we stay united, Europe remains strong,” she argued in front of the Members of the European Parliament.