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Brussels is pushing to begin formal talks on Ukraine's EU membership as early as June 25 - Politico

Oleksiy LutykovPolitics
Brussels is pushing to begin formal talks on Ukraine's EU membership as early as June 25

Belgian officials insist that official talks on Ukraine's accession to the European Union begin in June. Behind the scenes, EU and Kyiv diplomats are working intensively to persuade the Hungarian government to agree to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the bloc.

The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the goal is to start official talks as early as June 25. This was reported by Politico.

Belgium is confident that the start of negotiations will strengthen the morale of Ukraine, which has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion for more than two years and has long sought to join the European bloc. To date, both Brussels and Kyiv have continued intensive bilateral diplomacy with Budapest to resolve the issue of Hungarian minorities in Ukraine.

After the April talks between the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrii Yermak, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, the parties noted the positive dynamics of the dialogue. In particular, Kyiv responded to the 11-point list presented by Budapest and is awaiting Hungary's reaction.

The European Union fears that Hungary will interfere with the negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU before it assumes the six-month rotating presidency of the EU Council in July. Therefore, Belgian diplomats are eager to start negotiations on Ukraine's EU membership before Hungary takes over.

For this to happen, EU countries must agree on a so-called negotiation framework. The two diplomats said that so far, talks on the technical level are going well, and they expect a new draft to be sent to EU ambassadors in the coming weeks so they can address the most pressing issues.

Belgian officials have already scheduled an intergovernmental conference for June 25, just days before Budapest takes over the six-month EU Council presidency. However, one diplomat warned that it is not yet possible to predict whether the talks will take place in June.

As a reminder, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that our country has now done everything possible to ensure Ukraine's accession to the European Union and NATO. He predicts that the talks in June should be productive.

As previously reported, the agreement on Ukraine's membership in the European Union should not have any territorial restrictions, just as the Association Agreement with the EU did not. The European Commission has a special procedure that provides for a recommendation regarding countries where part of the territory is not under state control.

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