Top Ukrainian diplomat says pre-accession talks with EU should start this year

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday that pre-accession negotiations with the EU should start this year.

"We are convinced that pre-accession negotiations should begin as soon as possible after Ukraine has implemented the recommendations and the positive assessment of the European Commission," Kuleba said in an online speech at a EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

"Ukraine is making every effort and I am convinced that we should start pre-accession negotiations by the end of 2023.”

Kyiv officially applied for EU membership on Feb. 28, 2022, four days after the start of Russia’s "special military operation" against the country.

Kuleba said Ukraine is finalizing the implementation of the recommendations of the European Commission, which were set after Kyiv was officially given the status of a candidate member to the EU last June, and that it is counting on a positive report from the European Commission this spring.

He added that Ukraine also expects to include “a positive assessment of its efforts to implement the recommendations” in the final declaration of the Ukraine-EU Summit set to take place on Feb. 3.

Kuleba noted that Kyiv has high expectations from the Ukraine-EU Summit and a joint meeting of the Ukrainian government and the College of the EU on the eve of the summit, saying that it counts on “tangible practical results of both events."

The European Commission issued its opinion on the application of Ukraine's EU membership on June 17 last year, after which the European Council granted Kyiv candidacy status.

Last December, Ukraine’s parliament adopted several bills recommended by the European Commission to further the country's EU accession process.

Source: Anadolu Agency