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Will EU approve Ukraine accession talks and EUR 50 billion program?

Will EU approve Ukraine accession talks and EUR 50 billion program? Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ursula von der Leyen (Getty Images)

The European Council summit kicks off in Brussels today, where crucial issues for Ukrainians will be discussed. EU leaders must decide whether to initiate accession negotiations with Ukraine and approve a four-year support program for Ukraine totaling 50 billion euros.

In a commentary to RBC-Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna discussed whether Ukraine has met the conditions for negotiations and if Hungary could pose an obstacle.

Has Ukraine met the EU requirements to start negotiations?

Ukraine has fulfilled all the recommendations agreed with the European Commission, received along with the status of a candidate country for EU membership. In addition, the parliament voted in favor of three key laws outlined by the European Commission as additional steps in the November 8, 2023, Enlargement Package. Furthermore, a government-approved bill on transparent lobbying for European standards has been registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

On the threat of blocking from Hungary

Discussions with our partners regarding the start of negotiations on Ukraine's EU accession are ongoing. Today, we have the support of 26 member countries. There are no doubts about our commitment to reforms and results.

We continue a bilateral dialogue with Hungary. Recently, I had a personal meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, during which we discussed all key issues, including ensuring the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and agreed to work together on the implementation of relevant solutions.

Given the above, Ukraine sees no objective reasons for blocking the decision to open accession negotiations. At the same time, there is an understanding that the agenda of the European Council meeting includes a wide range of issues, and Hungary's position is determined not only by Ukraine. Today, there are opportunities for dialogue and finding a solution to initiate negotiations.

Will the EU approve the 50 billion euro support program?

Ukraine has the support of EU member states in providing a financial assistance package of 50 billion euros. There is an understanding that the adoption of this decision is a matter of economic stability and Ukraine's survival.

At the same time, the corresponding assistance is part of the overall budget framework of the European Union, and there are certain discussions about budgetary matters. However, among partners, there is a clear understanding that support for Ukraine must continue.

During meetings in Brussels, I emphasized the critical importance of continuing macrofinancial support for Ukraine, ensuring necessary predictability for all institutions in the country. I am confident that a decision will be reached.

Olha Stefanishyna, for RBC-Ukraine