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Ukraine starts official EU membership talks today

Ukraine starts official EU membership talks today Photo: EC President Ursula von der Leyen and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Today, on June 25, negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union are to officially begin. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has already congratulated Ukrainians on this historic step.

"Congratulations to Moldova and Ukraine on the start of accession negotiations. This is very good news for the people of Ukraine, Moldova, and the entire European Union. The road ahead will be difficult but full of opportunities. We wish you a successful start to the negotiations," she says.

The EU accession negotiations are scheduled to start at the First Intergovernmental Conference, which will be held today in Luxembourg. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. Kyiv time).

What it means

This Intergovernmental Conference will be the start of official negotiations between the candidate country and the governments of the EU member states to discuss and agree on the provisions of the future agreement on the candidate country's accession to the bloc. At the same time, accession negotiations will begin not only with Ukraine but also with Moldova.

The Ukrainian delegation at the event will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna. The EU will be represented by Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Oliver Vargei. The members of the bloc will be represented at the level of ministers for European affairs.

During the event, the EU will present a negotiation framework that defines the principles and basis for further negotiations. In addition, both Ukraine and EU representatives will present their negotiating delegations and exchange opening statements.

Overall, this event is intended to discuss and agree on the future membership agreement. The next step after the start of negotiations is expected in July when Ukraine will assess the compliance of its legislation in some areas and understand further obligations.

Read more about nuances, and the possible timing of the negotiation process, in the RBC-Ukraine article.