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EU and Ukraine officially begin accession negotiations

The European Union on one side, Ukraine and Moldova on the other, officially launch Tuesday Luxembourg of negotiations supposed to enable these two countries to one day be members of the European Union. full part of the EU.

Russia has sought by all means to obstruct this process, which promises to be long and difficult, leading these two former Soviet republics to anchor themselves to Europe.

“We look forward to next week, June 25, when Ukraine and the EU will hold their first intergovernmental conference, which will mark the effective start of the negotiation process,” said last week Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, hailing the realization of a “European dream”.

Accession negotiations between the EU and a third country are taking place within the framework of an intergovernmental conference (IGC).

The Twenty-Seven will first formally open discussions with Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. GMT), then with Moldova, according to a diplomatic source.

EU and Ukraine officially begin accession negotiations

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends a press conference at Palazzo Chigi in Rome, June 24, 2024 © AFP – Tiziana FABI

The opening of these talks is the result of a hard-won agreement by 26 EU countries, which were forced to compete in ingenuity to convince the 27th, Viktor's Hungary Orban, not to block the process.

The Hungarian Prime Minister fiercely opposed any discussion of accession with Ukraine, judging that this country was not wasn't ready. The closest EU member state to Vladimir Putin's Russia, Hungary also blocks all European military aid to kyiv.

Mr. Orban finally agreed to leave the summit table of the leaders of the Twenty-Seven in December, until his 26 counterparts decided to open these accession negotiations with kyiv and Chisinau.

< p>– “Screening” –

Once the intergovernmental conference is formally opened, negotiators will first review the legislation of the two countries to check whether it is compatible with that of the EU.

This stage, “screening” in Brussels jargon, normally lasts one to two years, a diplomatic source explained.

But in the case of Ukraine or Moldova, things will go faster because “we already have a fairly clear idea” of the situation, underlined this European diplomat, on condition of anonymity.

EU and Ukraine officially begin accession negotiations

The EU granted candidate status for membership to Ukraine in June 2022, in a highly symbolic gesture a few months after the start of the war unleashed by Moscow, as well as to neighboring Moldova © AFP – Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD

However, it will take several weeks, even several months, before the different negotiation chapters are actually opened.

And it is unlikely that they will be before the end of this year: Hungary, reluctant to welcome Ukraine, takes on July 1 the biannual presidency of the Council of the EU, which brings together the ministers of the Twenty-Seven .

The heads of state and government of the European Union had opened the way for such accession negotiations in mid-December 2023.< /p>

But Hungary had until then slowed down the formal opening of negotiations with kyiv, judging that the conditions were not met.

The European Commission, for its part, estimated on June 7 that Ukraine and Moldova had now fulfilled all the prerequisites for such accession.

The European executive demanded measures from kyiv to fight corruption and the influence of oligarchs. The Commission also asked for better consideration of minorities, a measure insisted on by Budapest due to the presence of a Hungarian community in Ukraine.

The The EU granted candidate status for membership to Ukraine in June 2022, in a highly symbolic gesture a few months after the start of the war unleashed by Moscow, as well as to neighboring Moldova.

The opening of negotiations is only one stage in a long and arduous accession process. A possible entry into the EU of Ukraine, a country of more than 40 million inhabitants and an agricultural power, poses numerous difficulties, starting with that of the financial aid from which it should benefit.

The EU, for its part, plans to reform itself to cope with this enlargement and improve its governance and decision-making, which is already often complex among 27 member states.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116