Ukraine’s premier hailed parliament’s approval of changes to anti-graft and minorities legislation requested by the European Union as the country strives to open accession talks with the bloc.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, last month recommended a start to negotiations on opening Kyiv’s membership bid once the government completes reforms, with boosting anti-corruption efforts high on the agenda.
On Friday, the legislature supported expanding the staff of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine from 700 to 1,000 people, according to lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak. It also backed allowing another body, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, to inspect assets that public servants acquired prior to taking office, he said on Telegram.
“We count on the European Council to approve a final decision on starting official talks on Ukraine’s membership in the European Union already next week,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Telegram after the vote.
Parliament also approved legislation that takes into account EU standards in the rights of national minorities in certain spheres, according to Zheleznyak.
Many ethnic Hungarians live in western Ukraine. Improving the situation with the rights of minorities is an issue pressed by Hungary, whose prime minister, Viktor Orban, has said Ukraine is not ready for EU membership.
Shmyhal said the changes to legislation address the main requests from the EU, complementing a cabinet decision made on Thursday to draft a law on lobbying to bring the country into line with European practices.
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