European Commission to recommend accession negotiations, Hungary’s objections loom.

The European Commission is poised to recommend the commencement of EU membership talks with Ukraine this month, signaling strong support for the war-torn nation ahead of Hungary’s assumption of the EU’s rotating presidency. This decision, driven by the urgency of the ongoing conflict, highlights the bloc’s commitment to Ukraine’s European aspirations, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Ukraine’s bid for EU membership, submitted shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, resulted in an unusually swift candidate status approval, catalyzed by Moscow’s aggression. This move marked a significant shift in the EU’s enlargement policy, which also saw Moldova and Georgia achieving candidate status amid accelerated negotiations with several Western Balkan countries.

The Commission aims to initiate formal talks with both Kyiv and Chisinau this month, underscoring a positive trajectory for their EU ambitions. This Friday, it will announce that Ukraine has met previously unmet criteria, including anti-corruption measures, political lobbying restrictions, asset declaration rules for public officials, and protections for languages used by national minorities.

Conversely, Georgia, having adopted a contentious “foreign agents” law against Brussels’ advisories, will not receive a favorable recommendation. The Commission’s assessments will be presented to the EU’s 27 ambassadors, requiring unanimous approval from member states to proceed.

Hungary is expected to pose significant objections, citing concerns over the treatment of Ukraine’s Hungarian minority. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has previously impeded decisions related to Ukraine, including its candidate status and a substantial $50 billion aid package. Despite eventual concessions under pressure, Budapest has maintained its veto on allocating EU funds for military aid to Kyiv this year.

Furthermore, Hungary’s apprehensions extend to the rights of other minorities in Ukraine, particularly regarding the use of non-Ukrainian languages, which surpass the Commission’s stipulated conditions, according to a senior EU diplomat.

Hungary’s rotating presidency of the EU, commencing July 1, will grant it additional influence over the agenda of meetings on Ukraine. Meanwhile, Belgium, the current presiding country, is striving for unanimity to facilitate the initial round of accession talks by June 25, prior to transferring the presidency to Hungary.

(Associated Medias) – All rights reserved