Green light to open accession negotiations
On 14 December 2023, the EU leaders agreed to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and reconfirmed their commitment to continue strong support to the country and its people as long as it takes.
The Council of the EU has been invited by the EU leaders to adopt the negotiating framework once Ukraine completes the relevant reform measures set out in the Commission's recommendations from 8 November 2023.
Aspiring to join the EU
Ukraine applied for EU membership at the end of February 2022, only days after Russia launched its full-scale unprovoked and unjustified aggression. The Commission presented its Opinion on the application in June 2022, and Ukraine was granted EU candidate status by all EU Member States that same month.
In Ukraine, this created a powerful reform dynamic despite the ongoing war, with strong support from the people of Ukraine.
Ukraine has made progress on several important strands, including:
- reforming its justice system
- curbing the oligarchs' grip
- tackling money laundering
- reforming the judicial governance bodies
- protecting the rights of national minorities
The country has also demonstrated an impressive capacity to make progress in aligning with the EU acquis, even during wartime.
Through shared values, democratic principles and commitment to prosperity Ukraine will contribute to the European Union advancement, forging a path towards a more integrated and interconnected continent.
Steps to accession - a solid foundation for a harmonious partnership
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), in force since 2017, and the EU's decision to grant Ukraine EU candidate status in 2022 were some of the pivotal moments in Ukraine's path towards further EU integration. Ukraine and its citizens have demonstrated their commitment to democratic values, economic development and strengthening their ties to the EU.
The first results of this partnership are already visible. For example, Ukraine’s scientists and citizens take part in important EU programmes for research, innovation and education through Horizon Europe and Erasmus. More recently, Ukraine has joined the Single Market programme and the Connecting Europe Facility.
Despite Russia’s war of aggression and the hardships it currently faces, Ukraine has started on a journey that holds significant advantages for Ukrainians and Europeans alike.
Ukraine holds historic and cultural ties with Europe and has aspirations for the political and economic stability that EU Member States enjoy. The country is a fully-fledged presidential-parliamentary democracy and has a well-functioning public administration that has kept it running during the war. There is an active civil society and the electoral system has been proven to be fair and free.
Ukraine has already taken important steps towards becoming a functioning market economy. This is crucial, because Ukraine must be capable of integrating into the EU single market. For its part, the EU has already worked on further integrating Ukraine, for example in the transport and energy sectors.
EU assistance to Ukraine
The EU has provided significant financial assistance to Ukraine. Since the start of Russia's war of aggression in 2022, the EU, its Member States and financial institutions have mobilised around €85 billion in support to Ukraine and its people.
This includes €40.6 billion for Ukraine’s overall economic, social and financial resilience in the form of emergency macro-financial assistance, budget support, emergency assistance, crisis response and humanitarian aid. In addition, military assistance measures amount to around €27 billion, of which €5.6 billion have been mobilised under the European Peace Facility. €17 billion have been made available to help EU Member States cater for needs of Ukrainians fleeing the war.
- 14 December 2023
The European Council decides to open accession negotiations with Ukraine
- 8 November 2023
The Commission recommends that the Council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine.
- 23 June 2022
The European Council recognises the European perspective and grants candidate status to Ukraine.
- 17 June 2022
The Commission issues its opinion on the application for EU membership.
- 28 February 2022
Ukraine applies for EU membership.