EU countries agree to begin membership talks with Moldova and Ukraine

EU countries on Friday formally approved launching accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova next week, a landmark event for the two countries at the start of their long path towards joining the bloc.

European Union ministers will start negotiations first with Ukraine and then with Moldova in Luxembourg on Tuesday, said Belgium, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called the start of talks a “historic step”.

“Millions of Ukrainians, and indeed generations of our people, are realising their European dream,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on X.

“Ukraine is returning to Europe, where it has belonged for centuries, as a full-fledged member of the European community,” he added.

Ukraine—followed by its neighbour Moldova—lodged its application to join the 27-nation EU in the wake of Russia’s 2022 invasion.

Starting the negotiations will still only put the two ex-Soviet states at the beginning of what is likely to be a years-long process of reforms before they can finally become members.

EU leaders took the key step in December of agreeing to open talks on war-torn Ukraine—and Moldova —joining the club.


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