EU aims for early start to Ukraine's membership talks in June

Ukraine and the EU intend to start accession negotiations in June
Ukraine and the EU intend to start accession negotiations in June

Brussels officials are pushing to begin formal negotiations over Ukraine joining the European Union as early as next month, people familiar with the matter said, Politico reported on May 21.

Behind the scenes, diplomats from the EU and from Ukraine are working intensively to try to persuade the Hungarian government to give its approval to opening talks on Ukraine’s accession.

Read also: Ukraine's EU accession talks to start in June — Roberta Metsola

The aim is to kick-start the formal negotiations as soon as June 25, said five diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Opening the talks would bring a morale boost to Ukraine, which has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion for more than two years and has long aspired to join the Western bloc, Politico said.

Both Brussels and Kyiv are engaging in intensive bilateral diplomacy with Budapest to address concerns about Hungarian minorities in Ukraine, the diplomats said.

Following talks in April between Andriy Yermak, the powerful head of the Ukrainian president’s office, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, “the parties noted the positive dynamic of the dialogue,” according to a Ukrainian summary. Kyiv has responded to a list of 11 points laid out by Budapest and is awaiting Hungary’s response, a diplomat said.

Read also: NATO must define the conditions for Ukraine to join at this summer's summit - former NATO Secretary General

Hungary may want to get the matter of Ukrainian accession talks out of the way before it takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in July, one diplomat said.

"There was a sense of not doing this before the [June 9 European Parliament] election because it could become an election issue," said the EU diplomat.

Ukraine's accession to the EU

Ukraine had implemented 65-70% of the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal said in a TV interview with Bloomberg in September 2022. At the same time, at a press conference in Brussels, he said: "We have an ambition in the near future, by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, to move into the negotiation procedures that precede the actual granting of EU membership."

Shmyhal said in May 2023 that Ukraine should be ready to join the EU in two years.

The European Commission recommended starting negotiations on Ukraine and Moldova's accession to the EU on Nov. 8, 2023. The European Council supported the start of negotiations on Ukraine's EU membership with 26 votes on Dec. 14.

Ukraine could join the European Union in 2030, European Council President Charles Michel said previously.

Shmyhal said on March 20, 2024 that negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union should begin by the end of June this year.

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine