European Parliament calls for swift EU expansion talks with Ukraine

The European Parliament has called on EU leaders to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova during the upcoming summit on Dec. 14-15.

Lawmakers passed the corresponding resolution with 486 votes in favor, 99 against, and 58 abstentions.

Read also: European Parliament adopts resolution on Ukraine’s EU accession

The resolution also states that, subject to “specific reform steps,” negotiations for accession should also begin with Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Georgia should be granted candidate status.

The European Parliament welcomed the “interest and political will” of many countries to join the bloc and acknowledged their efforts to meet its membership requirements.

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MEPs called on the EU to “set clear deadlines for candidate countries to conclude accession negotiations by the end of the decade.”

At the same time, they asserted that there should be no “accelerated EU accession process and that candidate and potential candidate countries must clearly and consistently demonstrate their commitment to democracy, the rule of law, human rights, minority protection, and economic reforms.”

“In light of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, expansion has become even more strategically crucial and is one of the EU’s most powerful geopolitical tools.”

Read also: Hungary threatens to push back talks on Ukraine’s path to EU membership until March

The European Parliament also condemned Hungarian PM Viktor Orban’s statements against starting negotiations with Ukraine.

The resolution calls on the EU to conduct internal reforms concurrently with the enlargement process, including the introduction of voting by a “qualified majority.”

The European Commission recommended starting accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova on Nov. 8.

The Dec. 14-15 summit of EU leaders is set to discuss financial assistance to Ukraine and the start of negotiations regarding Ukraine’s accession to the EU. However, Hungary has threatened to thwart these discussions.

The start of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union may be postponed until March 2024 due to Hungary’s position, Euractiv reported, citing sources.

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