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Ukraine officially starts negotiations on accession to EU

Ukraine officially starts negotiations on accession to EU Photo: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and President of the European Council Charles Michel (Getty Images)

Today, June 25, negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union officially started. This occurred at the First Intergovernmental Conference in Luxembourg.

For more details, read the material by RBC-Ukraine below.

Also today, negotiations on Moldova's membership will begin.

During the intergovernmental conference, Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal reminded that over two years ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed Ukraine's application for EU membership. Subsequently, the European Council confirmed Ukraine's candidate status for accession to the bloc.

"Today we officially begin negotiations for Ukraine's accession to the European Union. A historic day, a historic moment for Ukraine and Europe. For our nation," stated the head of the Ukrainian government.

According to Shmyhal, thousands of Ukrainians have sacrificed their lives for an independent and European Ukraine. Thanks to them, Ukraine's accession to the EU is possible.

"We will do everything within our power to achieve this. We fully understand that there is still much work ahead of us on the path to accession. We are ready for it, we have demonstrated that we can move swiftly and achieve the impossible," the Prime Minister added.

What's next?

The beginning of negotiations does not equate to swift EU accession. As stated by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, Ukraine could become a member of the bloc by 2030 "if both sides do their homework." This is because not only Ukraine needs to meet all membership criteria, but the European Union itself must also be prepared to accept a new member.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba explained that after concluding the negotiations, Ukraine will be three steps away from membership. According to him, these steps will be:

  1. The European Commission's conclusion on the successful completion of negotiations and Ukraine's compliance with accession criteria.
  2. Decision on the signing of the Accession Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
  3. Ratification of the agreement by the parliaments of EU member states and Ukraine gaining full membership in the European Union.

Ukraine's path to the EU

Ukraine submitted its application for EU membership in late February 2022, just days after Russia began its full-scale war.

In June, the European Commission presented its findings on the application, and that same month all EU member states granted Ukraine candidate status for accession.

By 2023, the European Commission recommended to the EU Council to start accession negotiations with Ukraine, and in December of that year, the European Council decided to open negotiations.

Then, on June 7, 2024, the European Commission confirmed that it had given a positive oral assessment of the progress of Euro-integration reforms in Ukraine and Moldova, as outlined in the November enlargement report of the European Union. Last week, the EU Council approved the negotiating frameworks for Ukraine and Moldova, paving the way for the start of negotiations, which began today.

For more details on this, nuances, and possible terms of the negotiating process, read the material by RBC-Ukraine.