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Politico: Brussels wants to start formal EU accession talks no later than 25 June

Hungary is expected to be an obstacle. 

Politico: Brussels wants to start formal EU accession talks no later than 25 June
Photo: EPA/UPG

EU officials want to start formal accession talks with Ukraine no later than 25 June, Politico reports.

EU and Ukrainian diplomats are working intensively to convince the Hungarian government to approve the opening of talks. The start of the talks is expected to "boost morale" in Ukraine.

In December, EU leaders told the Ukrainian president that they wanted Ukraine and Moldova to join. But the formal legal procedure for starting the talks has been delayed by Budapest's resistance. 

"According to diplomats, both Brussels and Kyiv are engaged in intensive bilateral diplomacy with Budapest to resolve issues regarding the Hungarian minority in Ukraine," the article says.

Following the April talks between the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, "the parties noted the positive dynamics of the dialogue." Kyiv has responded to the 11-point list set out by Budapest and is awaiting Hungary's response, one diplomat said.

One EU diplomat suggested that Hungary might want to move forward with Ukraine's accession talks before it takes over its six-month EU Council presidency in July. 

"There was a feeling that it should not be done before the [9 June European Parliament] elections because it could become an election issue," the EU diplomat suggested, a sentiment shared by "many officials in Brussels."

Belgian officials are currently planning to hold an intergovernmental conference (IGC) on 25 June, just days before Budapest takes over the presidency on 1 July. However, "as always, it is impossible to predict what Hungary will do until we hear from Orbán himself," said one diplomat.

A spokesman for Hungary's permanent mission to the EU said Hungary was focused on the framework of the talks. "The first step is to find a consensus there. It is premature to discuss IGC dates".

  • Ukraine applied for EU membership at the start of the full-scale war, on 28 February.
  • In June, the European Commission recommended that Ukraine be granted candidate status. 
  • Brussels has demanded that Ukraine adopt certain laws to bring it closer to European legislation, including those on minority rights and lobbying. 
  • On 14 December, EU leaders approved the European Commission's recommendation to open accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly said that Ukraine expects to open EU accession talks in June 2024.
  • The negotiating framework for Ukraine's accession to the EU was approved in March. 

Read more about this topic in the interview: "Former EU Ambassador to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli: "Integration into the EU is possible before the end of hostilities". 

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