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EU and Ukraine Aim to Start Formal Accession Talks by End of June

Officials from the EU and Ukraine are pushing to begin formal accession negotiations as early as June 25, according to a May 21 report by Politico, citing inside sources.

Intense diplomatic efforts are reportedly underway to convince the Hungarian government to provide its consent for initiating discussions.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban previously claimed Ukraine was “light years” away from EU membership, despite the European Commission’s recommendation in November 2023 that Ukraine was ready for talks.

Politico report suggested that Hungary might be keen to resolve the issue before their EU presidency in July.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier expressed his expectation for negotiations to begin in June:

“We are actively preparing the next stage of rapprochement with the European Union for June — we anticipate the adoption of the negotiating framework and the actual start of the negotiations on Ukraine’s accession.”

On May 9, EU Ambassador to Ukraine Katarina Mathernova mentioned 2030 as a realistic target for Ukraine’s EU membership.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also announced during a visit to Kyiv on May 9 that official negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU should begin before the end of the first half of 2024.

“The accession talks must start as soon as possible, and I’m optimistic that the framework of negotiations may be approved by the EU member states in June,” she stated. “As it is known, on July 1 Hungary will start presiding in the Council of Europe, so it is important to adopt all the necessary decisions before that, under Belgian presidency.”

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