EU leaders to dampen Ukraine’s hopes of fast-track EU membership

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EU leaders will activity to cool Ukraine’s expectations of a accelerated way to rank astatine a acme pinch Volodymyr Zelenskiy connected Friday, arsenic nan bloc spars complete really overmuch encouragement to springiness its war-torn neighbour.

The president of nan European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and nan caput of nan European Council, Charles Michel, are owed to meet Zelenskiy successful Kyiv connected Friday for wide-ranging talks connected nan war, further sanctions connected Russia and integrating Ukraine into nan EU’s soul market.

It is understood that nan EU leaders will activity successful backstage to temper Ukraine’s expectations of a fast-tracked membership, while avoiding antagonistic nationalist statements that could weaken morale and harm Zelenskiy’s efforts to task a European early for Ukrainians.

Western EU personnel states are concerned that Kyiv’s expectations connected speedy rank talks are unrealistic. Earlier this week, Ukraine’s premier minister, Denys Shmyhal, told Politico his state had “a very eager scheme to subordinate nan European Union wrong nan adjacent 2 years”.

The EU granted Ukraine campaigner position past June, a historical determination taken pinch unprecedented velocity for nan post-1992 era.

But fewer personnel states expect Ukraine to subordinate immoderate clip soon. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, said past May it would astir apt return several decades for Ukraine to subordinate nan EU. Some negotiated sources person expressed scepticism that Ukraine, which would go nan poorest EU personnel authorities and nan largest recipient of European funds, will ever attain membership.

A draught acme communique states that “the EU reiterated its committedness to support Ukraine’s further European integration” and “will determine connected further steps erstwhile each nan conditions specified successful nan commission’s sentiment [on campaigner status] are afloat met.”

Language noting Ukraine’s “considerable progress” towards EU rank has been changed to “considerable efforts”, aft complaints from Germany, nan Netherlands and others that nan EU had made nary charismatic appraisal to warrant specified rosy comments.

“There is nary accelerated track,” said 1 elder EU diplomat, adding it was “too early to tell” whether Ukraine would subordinate nan EU. “The way for immoderate campaigner state is simply a agelong one. Ukraine is nary objection here.”

Poland and nan Baltic states person been arguing for much encouraging language. Yet moreover these governments, which dream Ukraine will subordinate swiftly, are avoiding endorsing circumstantial dates.

Ahead of nan summit, Von der Leyen travelled to Kyiv connected Thursday pinch 15 EU commissioners, nan first clip truthful galore elder Brussels officials person held talks pinch a authorities successful a conflict zone.

Speaking alongside Zelenskiy connected Thursday, she heaped praise connected Ukraine’s efforts to subordinate nan EU, saying: “Your stamina and your people’s stamina and your determination to subordinate nan European Union is impressive.”

Ukraine’s president spelled retired really important EU rank was. “We request nan motivating European integration achievements that will show that nan spot of our group connected nan battlefield – and that each levels of this very difficult conflict is supported by nan full Europe,” Zelenskiy said.

The EU visits to Kyiv travel a bid of arrests of elder Ukrainian officials accused of corruption. On Wednesday nan head of Kyiv’s taxation authority was accused of fraud, aft investigators recovered costly jewellery and piles of rate astatine 1 of her homes. Last week, respective Ukrainian elder officials, including nan lawman curate of infrastructure, resigned aliases were fired arsenic portion of anti-corruption investigations.

Von der Leyen praised Ukraine for “reacting truthful rapidly” to guarantee nan conflict against corruption “is delivering tangible results and is further stepped up”.

She besides praised Ukraine’s “impressive progress” to meet 7 requirements group retired successful nan commission’s sentiment connected Ukraine’s campaigner status.

These 7 steps see reforming Ukraine’s law court, curbing nan power of oligarchs successful nationalist life, and tackling corruption pinch “proactive and businesslike investigations”.

Yet EU personnel states – who expect to carnivore a ample portion of nan costs of Ukraine’s reconstruction – are apt to stay concerned astir fraud successful a state that was named arsenic the 2nd astir corrupt successful Europe in 2022 by Transparency International. The World Bank estimated Ukraine’s reconstruction measure to beryllium €349bn (£312bn) past September, but that fig is surely higher pursuing Russian attacks connected Ukrainian lodging and captious infrastructure complete nan autumn and winter.

While elder EU officials are impressed pinch Ukraine’s efforts to tackle endemic graft, location is besides acknowledgment that warfare breeds corruption.

Several EU personnel states reason that Ukraine should not beryllium allowed to unfastened accession talks pinch nan bloc – nan adjacent cardinal determination constituent connected nan roadworthy to rank – until it has passed each 7 requirements.

Source internasional