The European Commission recommended opening EU accession negotiations with Ukraine on December 15, 2023, "unconditionally", said Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, at the yearly meeting of the European Business Association.
"The negotiations are expected to be opened unconditionally on December 15," she said.
According to Stefanishyna, Ukraine has already collected "certain feedback from member states on the report" on the fulfillment of conditions for accession.
"It is very important for us that member states do not accuse the European Commission of biased evaluations. Compared to the other eight countries [candidate countries for EU membership: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey. Georgia, and Kosovo are potential candidates for membership — ], we are making strong progress despite the war," she argued.
Stefanishyna added that even the "most fastidious countries" — the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany — recognized the objectivity of the assessment of Ukraine as a candidate and supported the decision to open negotiations unconditionally.
The deputy prime minister mentioned that a "group of EU countries" (implying Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland — ) is manipulating the issue of Ukraine's membership to raise "political stakes and to resolve their issues by supporting this consensus in December." However, the Ukrainian side has a strategy for working with each of these countries.
"I am sure that the historical importance of this decision will outweigh the traditional format of concluding political agreements between states," Stefanishyna said optimistically.
She is sure that after the start of the negotiations, the next steps to Ukraine's membership in the EU will be clearly established.
"As early as March 2024, you will publicly understand what negotiating framework Ukraine and the European Union have. At the end of 2024, we can already establish certain red lines," Stefanishyna noted.
The European Commission has already given Ukraine a list of all its future obligations as an EU member. They are divided into two large groups:
- the Non-Negotiable part — those that must be fulfilled unconditionally;
- "We will tell you how to do it" — obligations with recommendations.