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Poland warns Ukraine about challenging accession negotiations with EU

Poland warns Ukraine about challenging accession negotiations with EU Illustrative photo: negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU can be difficult (Getty Images)

Ukraine's accession negotiations with the European Union are likely to be difficult, as there are areas of contention, states Polish Minister for EU Affairs Adam Szłapka during a briefing with Ukraine's Vice Prime Minister and Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna, as well as German Minister of State for Europe at Federal Foreign Office Anna Lührmann.

"I would like to emphasize that Ukraine has fulfilled all the conditions set by the European Commission to start the official process of accession negotiations," said Szłapka.

The minister reminded that next week an intergovernmental conference between Ukraine and the EU is scheduled, where negotiations will commence.

Szłapka emphasized that the negotiation process will be challenging.

"It will require Ukraine to maintain the current pace of reforms; it's not about ticking boxes but about transforming the country," said the Polish minister, noting that negotiations, for instance in the agricultural sector, will be challenging.

According to the official, Poland understands that Ukraine is in a difficult situation, but Ukrainian society should also understand that Poland, Germany, France, and others have their own interests. Therefore, it is necessary to jointly find the best solutions.

Szłapka noted that his country can assist Ukraine on its path to the EU, as Poland has been a member for 20 years and understands European procedures, along with having relatively recent experience in accession negotiations.

Together with his German counterpart, he added that they expect Ukraine to achieve good results in the following areas: rule of law, combating corruption, protecting local self-government, freedom of speech, and so on.

Importance of the visit by the Polish and German ministers

It is noteworthy that the briefing took place after the second meeting in the Weimar Triangle format (Poland/Germany/France) + Ukraine.

Olha Stefanishyna stated that the French minister couldn't attend due to early elections in France, so France was represented at the ambassadorial level.

"It is very important to me that this visit (Szłapka and Lührmann - ed.) takes place less than a week before the first intergovernmental conference, preceding the meeting of European Affairs ministers (EU member states - ed.), where issues of reforms in Ukraine and the institutions existing within these reforms in Ukraine will be discussed," Stefanishyna said.

According to her, during negotiations with officials from Poland and Germany, the next steps towards opening the first negotiating chapters were discussed.

What preceded

Earlier, Belgium's presidency of the EU wrote about EU ambassadors approving the start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.

They will begin on June 25 - at the intergovernmental conference Ukraine-EU.