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Ukraine joining EU by 2030 ‘possible’ – envoy

The bloc’s ambassador in Kiev has expressed optimism about the country’s entry before the end of the decade

It would be realistic to expect membership talks between Ukraine and the EU to be finalized by the end of the decade, the bloc’s ambassador in Kiev, Katarina Mathernova, has told local media.

The EU officially launched membership negotiations with Kiev on Tuesday, after all 27 member states approved the negotiating framework last week. 

“So far I have seen in Ukraine a lot of determination and a lot of tenacity to move quickly. So I do think that in the case of Ukraine it may take less time than before in the case of some other countries. I think that 2030 is a very realistic date,” Mathernova told RBC-Ukraine.

According to the US-educated Slovak diplomat, the next step will be “bilateral screening,” or comparing the EU’s body of laws and rules to Ukrainian regulations to identify “gaps.” That will take several months, whereupon the first “chapters” of negotiations can be opened.

The chapters act as a sort of a “checklist,” dealing with “thematic areas,” she explained. Parts of chapters 23 and 24 that “deal with the rule of law, democratic governance, anti-corruption, etc.” are not part of the EU’s acquis communautaire, but will be assessed against European standards,” Mathernova noted.

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Pressed to offer a specific timeline, the envoy said it was difficult, because “each step depends on the rapidity and success of the previous step” and “a lot of the timing will depend on the preparedness and quality of the inputs.”

“Again, I know it’s a lot of jargon, but this is what we are famous for,” Mathernova told the outlet.

EU enlargement requires the consensus of all members and Ukraine has “bilateral issues with one of the countries,” the diplomat noted, not mentioning Hungary by name. “And the way to deal with it is to patiently persevere,” Mathernova added, quipping that “there is no magic formula.”

The government in Kiev applied for EU membership at the end of February 2022, following the escalation of the conflict with Russia. The current crisis dates back to 2014, when the US backed a violent coup in Kiev during a dispute in Ukraine over mutually exclusive free trade deals with Russia and the EU.

Speaking to Ukrainian media last month, Mathernova said that 2030 was “quite a realistic date” for joining the EU, even given the “completely unpredictable geopolitical environment we live in today.”

The bloc had previously named the end of the decade as the target date for admitting new members, potentially affecting Ukraine, Moldova and some parts of the former Yugoslavia.

June 26, 2024 at 09:42PM

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