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Ukraine steps closer to EU accession, and a major boost to reconstruction, with nod from European executive


Ukraine moved a step closer to starting talks to join the European Union, and the major assistance that would bring for the reconstruction of the country, as the EU executive body recommended starting membership talks with Ukraine after certain conditions are met.

The European Commission recommends that the EU start talks to grant membership to Ukraine after the country takes certain further steps to fight corruption and limit the power of the local oligarchs.

The recommendation will be discussed in mid-December at a meeting of the EU's 27 national leaders, who can decide whether to formally start membership talks with Ukraine. In the same package, the European Commission also recommended membership for Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine.

"Our people deserve to be in the European Union – together with all the free peoples of our Europe. And we are doing everything for this," Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said in an address to the nation after he was formally told of the recommendation to begin talks.

"We are now awaiting the European Council's decision on the negotiations in December, and we have already prepared for this decision. Ukraine is doing its part. This is our top priority," he said.

If approved in December, membership talks would begin next year, although actual membership would still be far off. In previous rounds of EU enlargement, which admitted much of Eastern Europe to the bloc, negotiations and reforms took several years.

A path to membership in the EU would provide a major boost to Ukraine in its reconstruction efforts, obliging the country to carry out many needed reforms and locking the EU in to supporting Ukraine.

Beata Javorcik, the chief economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has said the promise of European Union membership will accelerate the reconstruction of Ukraine more reliably than the money likely to be offered by international donors when the war with Russia ends.

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