President of the European Council Charles Michel is optimistic about Ukraine’s European Union prospects and said it could join the bloc in seven years.
In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Michel said he wanted Ukraine to join the EU as fast possible.
“Ukraine may indeed become a member of the EU in 2030 if both sides do their homework,” Michel said.
A major issue is Kyiv’s fight against corruption as Ukraine has been plagued by fraud scandals, even during the current war with Russia.
“Ukraine and other candidate countries for accession to the EU must actively and steadily carry out reforms, fight corruption, and comply with legal conditions,” implying there would be no shortcuts or special privileges for membership hopefuls. Alongside Ukraine, Moldova is also hoping to become an EU member in the near future.
The optimistic comments from Michel came after foreign ministers from the EU convened in Kyiv on October 2 to discuss the country’s accession to the bloc.
Ukraine was officially granted “EU candidate status” last year in response to the Russian invasion.
Michel called on the EU to speed up its decision-making processes. With a relatively quick admission of Kyiv, the bloc would also “prove its ability to act geopolitically”, he said.
The EU should “not waste any more time” now, according to the Belgian, as the influence of Russia and China is growing, for example in the Western Balkans.
Michel said suggesting 2030 as an objective for Ukraine’s accession acted a useful incentive for everyone involved to prepare and accelerate their efforts and avoid unnecessary hold-ups.
The issue of EU enlargement will be discussed at the international summit of European leaders on October 6 in Granada, Spain.
By early November, the EC intends to issue a recommendation regarding Ukraine’s entry to the EU. A decision on that should be made during the mid-December summit in Brussels and will require unanimous approval from all 27 EU Member States to progress.