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EU Ambassadors Agree to Start Accession Talks with Ukraine and Moldova

Brussels, June 15, 2024, The Europe Today: EU ambassadors agreed on Friday to formally begin accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, marking a significant step in both countries’ paths toward EU membership. The decision, announced by the Belgian EU presidency, follows a series of key developments in the region.

Ukraine applied for EU membership shortly after Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Four months later, both Ukraine and neighboring Moldova were granted candidate status. This latest move indicates substantial progress in their EU accession journey.

“Ambassadors agreed in principle on the negotiating frameworks for the accession negotiations of Ukraine and Moldova,” the Belgian presidency announced in a post. The first intergovernmental conferences are scheduled for June 25.

Belgium currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, a position it will maintain until June 30. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, expressed his support for the decision on X, formerly known as Twitter, stating, “We keep our promises and we will support you along the way to membership.”

The European Council, comprised of the leaders of member states, is distinct from the Council of Ministers, the EU’s legislative body. This agreement comes just a week after the European Commission declared that Kyiv and Chisinau meet all necessary criteria for the formal initiation of accession talks. These criteria include measures to limit the influence of oligarchs and to protect the rights of ethnic minorities.

The commencement of negotiations requires unanimous agreement from all 27 EU member states. Prospective member countries typically undergo years of reforms to fulfill EU admission standards. Following Belgium’s presidency, Hungary will assume the role. However, Budapest has previously voiced objections to EU aid to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia and has expressed skepticism regarding the European Commission’s assessment of Kyiv’s readiness for accession talks.

The start of these negotiations signifies a crucial milestone for Ukraine and Moldova, reflecting their commitment to European integration and the broader goals of peace and stability in the region.