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EU aims to start membership talks with Ukraine by July 1: Politico reports reason

EU aims to start membership talks with Ukraine by July 1: Politico reports reason Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The European Union wants talks on Ukraine's membership in the bloc to take place by July 1, according to Politico.

Representatives of the governments of 27 EU countries will discuss the draft framework program for the Commission's negotiations on Ukraine's and Moldova's accession to the EU today, and time is of the essence. Hungary will become the EU Council's president on July 1.

One European official said that the Belgian presidency wants the talks to start at the Common Affairs Council, a meeting of EU ministers, on June 25.

While the European Commission's latest report on Ukraine noted some reforms that Kyiv still needs to implement before talks begin, officials say Ukraine has already done most of its homework. This includes reforms to protect ethnic and linguistic minorities, as recommended by the Venice Commission.

Few want to wait for another report to confirm Ukraine's progress in writing, fearing that the enlargement commissioner, Hungarian Oliver Varhelyi, could drag out the process.

“Várhelyi won’t be keen to do that very fast,” says one senior official.

Diplomats do not expect a deal to be concluded today, given the number of complex technical issues to be resolved. The idea is to start discussions at the ambassadorial level on sensitive issues.

Ukraine's membership in EU

In June 2022, Ukraine got a historic chance to become a member of the European Union, having been granted candidate status at a summit in Brussels. However, this status was conditioned on some important reforms aimed at strengthening the rule of law, fighting oligarchs, and meeting EU standards.

In 2023, the European Commission recommended that the Council of the EU start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.

According to Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Kyiv expects to start negotiations by July.

Recently, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said that Brussels wants to hold a meeting with Ukraine and Moldova to start EU membership talks by the end of June.