Ukraine officially begins negotiations on accession to the European Union

Ukraine on Tuesday began formal negotiations to join the European Union (EU).

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, who is chairing the current EU session, opened the intergovernmental conference, which is the first stage of the accession negotiations.

“This is a historic moment for all of us and a turning point in our relations,” she said, reiterating the European Union’s condemnation of the Russian war in Ukraine.

She added: “The European Union reiterates its strong support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and its inherent right to self-defence against Russian aggression. The EU remains committed to Ukraine’s security, alongside its partners in the bloc.”

“The accession negotiations that we are launching today will be challenging and we are confident that with your determination you will achieve a positive outcome. We will support you in your efforts and look forward to welcoming you as a full member of the European Union,” she said.

For his part, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, in a speech delivered via video call, explained that this was a historic day for Ukrainians and for Europe.

He stressed that Ukraine’s future membership is the ideal response to the current challenges facing Europe and a unique opportunity to strengthen the EU’s capacity.

Ukraine applied to join the European Union on February 28, 2022, 4 days after the Russian attack, and was granted candidate country status on June 23, 2022. The decision to launch accession negotiations was taken at the European Union Summit on December 23, 2023.

This is the first time that the European Union is starting negotiations with a country at war, after a short period of more than 2 years from the date of submission of the application.

This article is originally published on aa.com.tr

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