The European Commission has officially recommended granting Ukraine candidate status for accession to the European Union. This was announced at a briefing on June 17 by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
According to the President of the European Commission, in case of a positive vote at the EU Summit on June 23-24, Ukraine will receive the status of a candidate unconditionally, but in the future will be obliged to continue reforms, including judicial and anti-corruption.
In terms of judicial reform, the Constitutional Court reform in accordance with the recommendations of the Venice Commission is emphasized. The core of this reform should be the introduction of a transparent competition to the CCU, which will include the integrity check of the candidates.
Ukraine also needs to complete the cleansing of the High Council of Justice with the participation of the Ethics Council and make a transparent selection for the High Qualification Commission of Judges. The European Commission notes that if this reform is successfully implemented, Ukraine will not only be able to build an independent and accountable justice system, but also reduce the influence of individuals who have previously used the justice system to undermine the rule of law in Ukraine.
“We have got very positive signals on the European perspective of Ukraine both from the EU states which previously were hesitant or undecided and the European Commission itself. The candidate status, as well as accession negotiations, will become the most powerful tool for advocating true reforms in Ukraine. First of all, we mean the rule of law reform, which is the utmost priority for both the European Commission and Ukrainian society. We anticipate granting Ukraine the unconditional candidate status with further reforms fulfilment by EU`s 27 member states at the summit next week”,
– DEJURE Foundation Chair of Board Mykhailo Zhernakov indicated.
The European Commission stressed the importance of maintaining the independence of anti-corruption infrastructure, including NABU and SAPO. Ukraine must appoint a new decent NABU Director through a transparent competition and finally complete the competition for the SAPO Head.
Among other further steps of Ukraine, the European Commission emphasizes the introduction of FATF standards, comprehensive law enforcement reform, implementation of anti-oligarchic law, and adoption of a media law in line with the European Audiovisual And Media Services Directive and the National Minorities Law.
Ukraine is obliged to complete all these steps by the end of 2022. The European Commission will assess the progress of these reforms after this deadline.
Together with Ukraine, the candidate status is also recommended for Moldova. The European Commission did not provide recommendations on Georgia's candidacy, insisting on fulfilling the previous conditions.