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Von der Leyen in Ukraine ahead of enlargement decision

Von der Leyen in Ukraine ahead of enlargement decision

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KYIV — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is in Ukraine on Saturday, as the EU tries to reassure the Ukrainian people of the bloc’s support and ahead of key report on Kyiv’s accession aspirations.

“I’m here to discuss Ukraine’s accession path to the EU,” von der Leyen said on X from Kyiv. “And how we will continue to make Russia pay for its war of aggression.”

The visit comes days before the European Commission will publish its progress report on November 8 on how well Ukraine and other aspiring members are meeting the bloc’s economic, legal and other conditions for joining. Earlier this week, von der Leyen visited several countries in the Western Balkan that also aspire to become EU members.

“Of course the enlargement package will be at the top of the agenda, but also the financial and military support,” von der Leyen told reporters earlier. “The 12th sanctions package as well, so a whole basket of issues we have to discuss. And the most important message is reassuring that we stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

EU officials and diplomats told POLITICO that in the November 8 report Brussels will recommend opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova — conditioned on technical caveats where the countries need to make more progress.

The progress report is a key step in the bloc’s decision on whether to start accession talks with Kyiv. Based on the Commission’s assessment, EU leaders will then discuss at their meeting in mid-December whether to launch formal membership talks with Ukraine. Any enlargement decisions require the backing of all 27 EU countries.

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