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Zelenskyy: Ukraine's EU membership to start from today

"The first intergovernmental conference between Ukraine and the EU is today".

Zelenskyy: Ukraine's EU membership to start from today
Photo: President's Office

In a speech on the occasion of the first Intergovernmental Conference on Ukraine's accession to the EU, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed the importance of starting negotiations on Ukraine's European integration.

The text of the address was published by President Zelenskyy on the X network.

"Today is a historic day when we are moving to actual, real negotiations with the European Union on Ukraine's membership. On 28 February 2022, a few days after the start of the full-scale invasion, we signed the application for membership. 

Almost two years ago, in June 2022, we gained candidacy, and last December we received a political decision on negotiations. But it is from today that our membership in the European Union will start: the first intergovernmental conference between Ukraine and the EU will take place today," the President said in his address.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the military who defend the state, as well as the team that "does everything for Ukraine to become part of the European Union". "We will never be led astray from the path to a united Europe, to our common home - all European nations. A home that must be peaceful!" he added.

Start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU

  • Negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union have started in Luxembourg today. At the conference, the EU will present Ukraine with a general framework for negotiations that sets out the key principles of the negotiation process. The intergovernmental conference will formally launch the negotiations, and the negotiations will actually begin with the opening of the negotiating chapters. The first chapters and clusters to be opened will be those on the EU's fundamental issues. According to an optimistic forecast, the opening of the first chapters or the first chapter will take place in early 2025.
  • Earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that Ukraine had fulfilled all the requirements for opening EU accession talks. 
  • On 21 June, the EU approved the negotiation framework for Ukraine. 

Ukraine's accession to the EU: the beginning of the journey

  • Ukraine applied to join the European Union in February 2022, when the full-scale war began.
  • On 23 June 2022, Ukraine was granted the status of a candidate for membership of the European Union. Kyiv received a list of seven reforms from Brussels that were necessary for further European integration.
  • On 8 November 2023, the European Commission recommended starting negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. The EC considered four of the seven requirements to be fully successful: the introduction of legislation on the procedure for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the completion of the integrity check of candidates for the High Council of Justice and the establishment of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the compliance of anti-money laundering legislation with FATF standards and the approval of a strategic plan for reforming the entire law enforcement sector, and media reform - bringing Ukrainian legislation in line with the European Union's However, the fight against corruption, legislation on national minorities, and reducing the influence of oligarchs still needed to be addressed.
  • The political decision to start accession negotiations depends on all 27 EU member states. The main obstacle has been Hungary, which opposes Ukraine's accession and instead proposes some kind of cooperation agreement. Slovakia's pro-Russian Prime Minister Robert Fico has said that he does not believe Ukraine is ready to join, but promised not to prevent the start of negotiations. So far, Hungary has promised not to block Ukraine's accession.
  • President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that if the European Council does not decide on negotiations, it will mean that the Russian president has influenced it: "they started working with countries, not only in Europe, on many continents, and putting pressure on them. Therefore, if there is no positive result, then the question is not about plan B. We have only one plan - the choice of our people to be in the EU. So if there is no positive result, it will mean that Putin vetoed this decision. That's what it will say, I think."
  • In the end, in December 2023, the European Council allowed the launch of accession negotiations with Ukraine. The same decision was made in relation to Moldova, and Georgia was made a candidate for accession. However, this country's European aspirations are under threat due to the adoption of the law on "foreign agents".
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