Opening of accession negotiations for Moldova closer

EU member states are hopeful to agree on the negotiation frameworks for Ukraine and Moldova in the first week of June, though some objections from Hungary remain. The relative progress comes after EU ambassadors held a two-hour discussion on Wednesday, 29 May, regarding the negotiating frameworks of Ukraine and Moldova, IPN reports, with reference to Euractiv.

Belgium, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency until the end of June, has been pushing for a discussion at the level of EU ambassadors to clarify where stumbling blocks lie.

While some EU countries would still require parliamentary approval, almost all 27 member states are supportive of holding the first intergovernmental Conferences (IGC), which would launch the formal negotiations, when EU affairs ministers are expected to meet on 25 June.

Reservations expressed by some EU member states were almost all lifted “for the sake of swiftly moving forward”, one EU diplomat said. However, Hungary is the last holdout for a deal on the frameworks that would allow the bloc to start the talks, several EU diplomats confirmed.

Budapest continues to block Ukraine, but not Moldova, and has requested additional changes to the draft agreement due to 11 bilateral issues regarding national minority rights, trade, anticorruption, agriculture, internal market, and good neighbourly relations.

Over the next week, expert working groups are expected to work on the technical details for a potential deal, which could be discussed by EU ambassadors when they are slated to return to the issue in their meeting on Wednesday, 5 June.

In Wednesday’s talks, several EU countries also stressed the importance of also moving ahead with those EU hopefuls in the Western Balkans where progress has been recorded.

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