Ukraine to articulate its European integration expectations at Association Council in September

At the EU-Ukraine Association Council, scheduled for early September, the Ukrainian side plans to articulate its stance on the start of accession negotiations. Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna said this in an interview with the Yevropeyska Pravda online media outlet.

The Deputy Prime Minister noted that Ukraine did not want to be part of the “Balkan format” of EU enlargement because each wave of enlargement had certain historical aspects. In addition, although Ukraine received the formal status of EU candidate only in June, it carried out many reforms and fulfilled many obligations under the Association Agreement before that, the official emphasized.

“That’s why we take the initiative. The first important stage is the meeting of the [EU-Ukraine] Association Council which will take place in early September in Brussels, where we will articulate our expectations. We hope that we will get clarity on the start of negotiations at the end of the year, when the presidents of the European Union and Ukraine will meet,” Stefanishyna said.

According to her, the Ukrainian side considers the opening of negotiations on EU membership in 2023 absolutely realistic.

The Deputy Prime Minister added that the Association Council meeting would mark the beginning of “political race” on the roadmap for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

At the same time, she noted that it was important for Ukraine to implement the Association Agreement as much as possible by the end of this year, because the European Commission was going to publish its assessment, and “the better our progress, the fewer recommendations we will have.”

As reported, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna said on August 21 that the Ukrainian authorities wanted to get political clarity from EU leaders on the next steps on this path by the end of the year.

On June 23, the heads of state and government of the European Union adopted a decision to grant Ukraine the status of EU candidate country.