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21 May, 2024 15:00

Date of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to EU revealed – media

Brussels is pushing to launch formal discussions on Kiev and Moldova joining the bloc as early as next month, Politico reports
Date of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to EU revealed – media

The European Union is aiming to launch formal accession talks for Ukraine and Moldova as soon as June 25, Politico reported on Tuesday, citing diplomatic sources. 

Policymakers from Brussels and Kiev are reportedly holding intensive consultations as they try to persuade Hungary to greenlight the start of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession bid. Commenting on condition of anonymity, five sources familiar with the matter told Politico that officials in Kiev and the EU have teamed up to address concerns about Hungarian minorities in Ukraine.

According to one EU diplomat, Budapest could seek to get Ukrainian accession talks out of the way before Hungary assumes the six-month rotating presidency of the EU Council in July. Belgium has scheduled an intergovernmental conference for the end of next month, a few days before the beginning of the Hungarian  presidency, the source said.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky applied for “immediate” EU membership shortly after Russia launched its military campaign against its neighbor, with Kiev’s application for the bloc being signed on February 28, 2022. Moldovan President Maia Sandu soon followed suit, filing a formal membership application on March 3. In June 2022, President of the European Council Charles Michel announced that Ukraine and Moldova had both been granted EU candidate status.

At the time, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo signaled that providing Ukraine with EU-candidate status was a “symbolic message” of support for Kiev in the conflict with Russia. Actual EU membership, however, is still “many years” away and Ukraine must first meet the bloc’s standards, he explained.

In October, Michel told Der Spiegel that the EU could admit Ukraine by 2030 if “both sides do their homework.” Last May, Sandu said in an interview with Bloomberg that Moldova could also join the EU by 2030, including the breakaway region of Transnistria, which currently hosts a Russian peacekeeping force.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that Moscow has never opposed Ukraine’s potential accession to the EU, as Russia does not see any military threat in economic cooperation between Kiev and international partners. At the same time, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested that Ukraine’s accession to the bloc would undermine the pan-European system and could ultimately lead to its collapse.

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