Friday, June 14, 2024

Ukraine and Moldova ready to start negotiations to join the EU, Commission says

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For accession talks to start, all 27 member countries must agree on the negotiating framework to convene an intergovernmental conference with Ukraine and Moldova. EU diplomats are pushing to do so as soon as the end of June, with an ambassadors’ discussion penciled in for June 12 to iron out any concerns member countries have.

During a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to support Ukraine both in its EU and NATO bids, calling for Ukraine’s EU accession talks to be launched “by the end of the month.”

Macron also said he would set up a €200 million “support fund” for the Ukrainian economy targeting “companies wishing to export and invest in the country’s critical infrastructure.”

Not all countries are quite as enthusiastic. Hungary has so far adamantly opposed Kyiv’s entry to the bloc and could delay the start of the talks. Budapest is set to take its turn at the helm of the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU at the start of July.

Ukraine applied to join the EU in February 2022, days after Russia launched its full-scale invasion. Moldova applied shortly after, in March 2022. Both were granted candidate status in June 2023 — a lightning-fast decision by EU standards spurred by Moscow’s aggression.

The Commission also gave a positive update on Montenegro’s EU candidacy and recommended holding an intergovernmental conference with Podgorica to green-light the next stage of accession, Montenegrin media reported Friday. Montenegro was granted candidate status in 2010.

Victor Goury-Laffont contributed reporting. This article has been updated.

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