ua en ru

Czech Foreign Ministry comments on expectations of Ukraine's integration with EU and NATO in 2024

Czech Foreign Ministry comments on expectations of Ukraine's integration with EU and NATO in 2024 Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Photo: RBC-Ukraine, Vitalii Nosach)

Czechia is advocating for Ukraine's accession to the EU. However, discussing any shifts in Ukraine's NATO accession is premature, said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.

EU accession

Regarding whether there will be significant news about Ukraine's European integration next year, Lipavský noted that "it depends on how allies and members of the EU will be able to agree."

Based on the Commission's findings, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed the possibility of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU, emphasizing the significant efforts that Ukraine is making in this process.

"Now it is a political decision, which also might not be easy, but Czechia fully supports Ukraine-European integration," Lipavský emphasized.

Possible issues

At the same time, he pointed out that this process would not be painless, as it would cause a situation similar to what happened with Ukrainian grain on the European market.

"Now we see transportation companies blocking roads in Poland, so there will be issues, and we need to have a lot of political will to overcome those issues, to find good solutions to Ukraine integration into the European markets, but I think overall will is there and integration process and negotiation process is a part of that," the Czech Foreign Minister noted.

Lipavský also emphasized that Czechia is a very constructive partner for Ukraine:

"We are your fans, we are lobbying for you, and this is how we do that."

NATO accession

The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs also commented on possible progress regarding Ukraine's invitation to the Alliance at the upcoming NATO summit in Washington.

He noted that it is too early to talk about it, and at this point, one needs to be "very practical."

"Let's be looking for ways how to reform Ukraine state internally in terms of processes and laws, so the compatibility between Ukraine and NATO is here, this can be quite easily measured, and I think the political will is here," Lipavský emphasized.

He clarified that it would be a mistake at this point to focus on "formulations" (referring to formulations describing Ukraine's invitation to the Alliance).

Negotiations on Ukraine's EU accession

In early November, the European Commission recommended starting negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union. Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó immediately stated that Budapest opposes the start of the dialogue.

At the same time, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán urged top EU officials not to raise the issue of Ukraine's accession to the bloc at the upcoming EU summit. Moreover, the Hungarian Prime Minister threatened to block the decision to start negotiations on Ukraine's Eurointegration at the EU summit on December 14-15.

For more details on why Hungary is blocking the start of Ukraine's accession negotiations with the EU - in the material by RBC-Ukraine.

Ukraine's path to NATO

On September 30, 2022, it became known that Ukraine applied for NATO membership under an expedited procedure. Ukraine expected to receive an invitation to join NATO during the summer summit in Vilnius, but it did not happen.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg emphasizes that Ukraine cannot join the Alliance until active hostilities cease.

Ukraine received recommendations from NATO regarding accession. This occurred following the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting held in Brussels on November 29. The recommendations relate to initial reforms for joining the Alliance.