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Politico: Brussels push to start Ukraine’s EU membership talks in June

EU diplomats are planning to start formal negotiations on Ukraine’s membership by 25 June.
Von der Leyen in Kyiv Zelenskyy2
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a meeting with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on 4 November 2023. Photo:
Politico: Brussels push to start Ukraine’s EU membership talks in June

Sources familiar with the matter say Brussels officials plan to begin formal negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership in the coming month, according to Politico.

Sources say diplomatic efforts are underway to persuade Hungary to approve talks on Ukraine’s accession to the bloc.

The talks aim to accelerate the process and provide Ukraine with a much-needed morale boost amid the ongoing war with Russia. Ukraine formally applied to become an EU member in 2022 and received candidate status, as well as a number of recommendations on reforms it needs to make to join the EU. If negotiations begin as planned, it will offer Ukraine a tangible step forward in its aspirations to align with the Western bloc and enhance its strategic position.

Despite EU leaders’ intention for Ukraine and Moldova to join the bloc, opposition from Hungary has hindered progress on the formal initiation of membership talks.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán, known as Russian ruler Vladimir Putin’s closest ally among EU leaders, has been the biggest internal obstacle to the EU’s support for Ukraine over the past two years. He has several times threatened to block decisions on EU funding for Kyiv, accession talks, and sanctions against Russia.

Sources revealed that intensive bilateral work is going on to address Hungarian concerns about minority rights in Ukraine, with recent dialogues showing promising signs of progress.

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