The European Commission Pushes for Ukraine’s Accession Negotiations

At the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Ursula von der Leyen announced that Ukraine has met the requirements to begin negotiations for accession to the European Union. Hungary, however, conditions its support on the restoration of rights for the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. Von der Leyen highlighted the aid and financing mechanisms to support the country's reconstruction and modernization.

Ukraine UE negotiations

In a firm endorsement of Ukraine’s European aspirations, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced during the Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Berlin that the country has met the necessary requirements to open negotiations for accession to the European Union (EU).

The war in Ukraine, following the Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory, began on February 24, 2022. As of today, June 11, 2024, 839 days of conflict have passed.

Notably, this conflict has its roots in the Russo-Ukrainian war that began in 2014, with Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the conflict in the Donbas region.

A Decisive Step Towards European Integration: Unconditional Support for Ukraine

“Ukraine has met all the steps we requested. Therefore, we believe the EU should start accession negotiations with Ukraine by the end of this month,” von der Leyen declared.

However, Hungary’s opposition, which insists on restoring the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, could hinder this process, as Budapest refuses to support the start of negotiations scheduled for June 25.

Addressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, von der Leyen emphasized Ukraine’s belonging to the European family. “Kharkiv is Europe. Ukraine is Europe. And our Union is your home,” she underscored during her speech, highlighting the symbolism of holding this conference in an EU member country after previous ones in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Aid and Financing, and Attracting Investments to Ukraine

Von der Leyen detailed the material and financial aid mechanisms established to counter Russian attacks. Among them, she mentioned raising 500 million euros for urgent repairs to Ukraine’s energy grid, a package of 1,000 electric generators, and nearly 8,000 solar panels. Additionally, Kyiv will receive 1.9 billion euros from the 50 billion euro Ukraine Fund before the end of the month, adding to the 6 billion euros already delivered.

During the conference in Berlin, agreements worth 1.4 billion euros will be signed with European banks to attract private sector investments in Ukraine. “Our goal is to improve access to financing for Ukrainian companies, especially for small and medium-sized startups that can help modernize the Ukrainian economy,”

von der Leyen noted, highlighting sectors such as digitalization, renewable energies, and essential raw materials.

A Strong Message to Russia

At the G7 summit, there will be discussions on how Ukraine can benefit more quickly from immobilized Russian funds. Starting in July, 1.5 billion euros from the profits of frozen Russian funds in the EU will be available, with 90% going to Ukraine’s defense and 10% to its reconstruction.

In a direct message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, von der Leyen stated: “Putin must fail. Ukraine must prevail. And we must help Ukraine rise from its ashes and own its future.”

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