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EU Plans to Start Accession Talks with Ukraine in June - Politico

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Photo: EU Plans to Start Accession Talks with Ukraine in June - Politico. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: EU Plans to Start Accession Talks with Ukraine in June - Politico. Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko

The EU plans to start formal accession talks with Ukraine as early as 25 June.  Five EU diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity, Politico reports.

Brussels officials insist on starting official talks on Ukraine's accession to the European Union next month.

The start of the talks will bring a moral boost to Ukraine, which has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion for more than two years.

According to diplomats, both Brussels and Kyiv are engaged in intensive bilateral talks with Budapest to persuade the Hungarian government to agree to start accession talks.

Hungary, in turn, insists on the so-called "solution of the problems of Hungarian minorities in Ukraine".

After talks in April between the head of the Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, "the parties noted the positive dynamics of the dialogue". According to one of the diplomats, Kyiv has responded to the 11-point list outlined by Budapest and is awaiting Hungary's response.

One EU diplomat suggested that Hungary may want to put an end to Ukraine's EU accession talks before it takes over the six-month rotating EU Council presidency in July.

After EU leaders have given Ukraine their political support, the next step in the accession process is to start formal negotiations through an intergovernmental conference with Ukraine. 

This will mean the opening of membership negotiations.

For this to happen, EU countries must agree on a so-called negotiating framework. The 27 capitals have been haggling over this document since the European Commission sent it to them in March. So far, negotiations on the technical level are going well, diplomats say. They expect a new draft to be sent to EU ambassadors in the coming weeks so they can address the most pressing issues.

Ukraine and its supporters in the EU have been calling for an intergovernmental conference between Brussels and Kyiv before Hungary takes over the rotating presidency of the EU Council on 1 July.

At the same time, diplomats say Hungary is interested in a successful presidency of the EU Council. The Belgians, who currently hold the rotating presidency, are also trying to convince Hungary that it is in their political interest, especially since Hungary could use one of several methods to block Ukraine's accession to the EU if it wanted to.

Belgian officials have already scheduled an intergovernmental conference for 25 June, a few days before Budapest takes over the EU presidency on 1 July. 

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