THE WORLD

Ukraine and Moldova start EU membership talks

Ukraine - EU

The European Union is expected to start the first intergovernmental conferences with Ukraine and Moldova on Tuesday in Luxembourg, "Associated Press" reports.

The Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Olga Stefanishyna, will lead the Ukrainian delegation at the conference that marks the official opening of talks to align the country's laws and standards with those of the 27-nation bloc.

Hours later, Moldova, which applied to join the EU following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and was granted candidate status four months later, will attend a separate conference. intergovernmental to officially start the process of membership in the bloc.

Intergovernmental conferences on Tuesday mark the start of talks, but negotiations are unlikely to begin for several months.

Candidate countries must align their laws and standards with those of the EU in 35 policy areas, known as chapters, ranging from the free movement of goods, taxation, energy and the environment to rights and security.

Bordering EU members Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, Ukraine would overtake France to become the bloc's largest member if it joins.

As a major cereal producer, Ukraine's membership would have a major impact on EU agricultural policy.

Along with Moldova, Ukraine stands in the long line of EU membership hopefuls, along with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

Ukraine aspires to join by 2030, but must first proceed with dozens of institutional and legal reforms. This list is guided by steps to fight corruption and includes extensive reforms in public administration and the judiciary.