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EU Ambassador estimates Ukraine will need 6 to 11 years to join

EU Ambassador estimates Ukraine will need 6 to 11 years to join Photo: EU Ambassador estimates Ukraine will need 6 to 11 years to join (flick com libereurope)

Ukraine may need at least 6 years to join the European Union. This is the amount of time the accession process took for Austria, says Martin Zelmayr, the EU Ambassador to Austria, in an interview with Kleine Zeitung.

He noted that the EU accession process serves a stabilizing function, and Ukraine also has an additional perspective from NATO.

"The EU accession process has a stabilizing function. History has shown that. Portugal, Spain, and Greece joined the EU shortly after shaking off dictatorships. Of course, with Ukraine there is an additional security perspective from the NATO states," said the diplomat.

Zelmayr rejected the idea that Ukraine's EU accession could extend to a decade. In his opinion, Ukraine will take between 6 to 11 years to join.

"For Austria, it took six years, for Spain eleven. Ukraine could be in between," Zelmayr responded when asked about the timeline for Ukraine's accession to the EU.

The ambassador added that thanks to the association agreement, Ukraine has already implemented 70% of EU law. However, there is still much work ahead, including the independence of the judicial system and improving the efficiency of governance.

European Council's decision on Ukraine

On December 14, during the summit, leaders of the European Union countries approved the opening of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the bloc.

This happened amid concerns that Hungary would block the decision by veto. The EU leaders' negotiations lasted over three hours, and the start of the summit was delayed due to Budapest's position. However, at the time of the vote, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left the room, so the decision was unanimously adopted.

For more details on what lies ahead for Ukraine, refer to RBC-Ukraine's material.