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EU member States push for June start to Ukraine membership talks

EU member States push for June start to Ukraine membership talks

EU member States push for June start to Ukraine membership talks

EU member States push for June start to Ukraine membership talks

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  • EU countries advocate for EU membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova in June.
  • EU agreed to open talks on Moldova’s membership in December.
  • Ukraine’s application to join the EU is at the beginning of a years-long process of reforms.
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On Tuesday, several EU countries advocated for the bloc to commence membership negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova in June, but Hungary threatened to disrupt the process. In December, the 27-nation EU took the landmark step of agreeing to open talks on its war-torn neighbor — and fellow ex-Soviet state Moldova — joining the club.

But to begin the negotiations, the bloc’s member states still have to sign off on a formal framework for the process, proposed in March by Brussels.

At a meeting in Brussels, France’s EU affairs minister Jean-Noel Barrot called for “the effective opening of negotiations” before Belgium’s rotating presidency concludes at the end of June

Other ministers, including those from Ireland and Sweden, echoed that statement.

The push to advance Ukraine to the next step in its quest for EU membership comes amid fears that Hungary, the friendliest country with Moscow in the bloc, could stall progress when it takes over the presidency after Belgium.

Budapest has been hostile to Kyiv’s bid to join, arguing that Ukraine is being pushed ahead in the queue without meeting the required criteria.

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“There can be no exception based on political or ideological considerations,” Hungarian minister Zoltan Kovacs said. “There is very little, if any, progress. Again, I can repeat to you that membership, approval should be a merit-based process. No exceptions.”

Another possible hurdle could arise from a new right-wing government being formed in The Netherlands, opposed to any new bloc enlargement. Ukraine applied to join the EU shortly after Russia launched an all-out invasion in February 2022.

Initiating the negotiations would place Ukraine only at the beginning of what is likely to be a years-long process of reforms before it can finally become a member.

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