Next Enlargement Would Increase EU Foreign Policy Role

Five lessons to learn before expanding the EU

23 February 2023

With renewed commitments from Kyiv and Brussels, enlargement proceedings seem to be on everyone’s minds, but the practical elements must be initiated, and the power to kick it all off begins with the European Council.

A new phase of Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU was marked at the Ukraine-EU Summit in Kyiv and a week later during a working visit of the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Brussels. On 3 February, at the Summit in Kyiv, the EU and Ukraine have made a firm commitment to the European perspective of Ukraine, which also meant that Ukraine is well on the path towards the EU membership and has advanced well on fulfilling of the necessary conditions. The statement had commended the considerable efforts of Ukraine and reiterated that the European Commission is to report on the fulfilment of the necessary conditions as part of its enlargement package and intends to provide an update in spring 2023.

A week later, on 9 February, during his working visit to Brussels, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also called upon the EU leaders, the Members of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission to start the actual dialogue for the membership as early as possible this year.

This would require opening of the EU accession negotiations by the Council in 2023, which should follow the European Commission’s recommendations and its updated assessment of Ukraine’s progress regarding the necessary conditions.

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Ramūnas Stanionis

Eastern Partnership and Russia Policy Advisor to MEP Andrius Kubilius, the European Parliament

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