JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Corruption Worries Cloud Its Push to Join EU” – WSJ
“Brussels recommends membership talks start soon, but many European leaders share U.S. concerns over rule of law.”
“… At the heart of European concerns … — echoed by Washington — is whether [Ukraine] can overhaul its governance and political culture to rein in … big tycoons and eradicate endemic corruption that has impeded economic growth and social cohesion. … [T]he [EU] set … seven reform tests. In Wednesday’s report, the commission said Kyiv had completed four of the seven reforms and would need to complete the other three before membership negotiations …. Over 90% of the work is done, [according to European Commission President Ursula] von der Leyen …. If EU governments agree, preparations for … accession talks could start before year end but actual negotiations would only take place in March, when Brussels will report on Ukraine’s progress on the remaining reform tasks. The Biden administration has also warned Kyiv it must do more to ensure U.S. aid to the country is handled correctly and transparently amid fading U.S. public support for financing Ukraine in its war with Russia. Leading Republican presidential candidates have cited Ukraine’s corruption record as one reason to stop supporting Kyiv, although there has been no significant evidence of misappropriation of arms supplies. …”
The EU’s executive body, the European Commission, has said that Ukraine has done most of the work needed to begin talks.
The EU recommended Wednesday that Ukraine membership talks begin soon.
That development provides a boost to Zelensky, who has declared EU membership a main goal for Ukraine.
All 27 EU members need to provide unanimous approval to open negotiations and to set a date to begin talks over Ukrainian membership.