Ukraine has an ambitious plan to become a European Union member in next two years.
“We have a very ambitious plan to join the European Union within the next two years. So we expect that this year, in 2023, we can already have this pre-entry stage of negotiations,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told Politico in an interview.
As noted, this throws down a gauntlet to the EU establishment, which is trying to keep Ukrainian membership as a far more remote concept.
In particular, this Friday, 3 February, Ukraine-EU Іummit, which will be held in Kyiv, will be dedicated to striking the right balance between Ukraine’s expectations and what Brussels can offer.
Shmyhal said he hopes Ukraine can achieve a “substantial leap forward” on Friday, particularly in specific areas:
• Agreement on a visa-free regime for industrial goods
• Suspension of customs duties on Ukrainian exports for another year
• “Active progress” on joining the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) payments scheme
• Inclusion of Ukraine into the EU’s mobile roaming area
“We expect progress and acceleration on our path towards signing these agreements,” the PM said.
Ukraine’s struggle against corruption is expected to be a hot topic and one of the central question marks over Ukraine’s EU accession.
According to Shmyhal, the government is taking corruption seriously.
“We have a zero-tolerance approach to corruption… Unfortunately, corruption was not born yesterday, but we are certain that we will uproot corruption,” he said, pointing to the “lightning speed” with which officials were removed this month.
As a reminder, during his visit to Kyiv last week, President of the European Council Charles Michel said that “Ukraine is the EU, and we will be together.”
Bohdan Marusyak

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