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  • Olha Stefanishyna: We expect the EU to start official negotiations with Ukraine in June
    Service of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, posted 29 May 2024 20:02

    During a working visit to Brussels, Belgium, on 29 May, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna met with Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Gert Jan Koopman.

    The meeting focused on strengthening cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union and Ukraine's progress towards EU membership.

    "We are grateful to the European Commission and to you personally for your continued support. We hope that this cooperation will only grow stronger, and that the EU and Ukraine will open a new page in their relations in June this year by officially launching negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU," said Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna.

    Olha Stefanishyna recalled the conclusions of the European Council of 21-22 March, which request the EU Council to quickly adopt a negotiation framework and start the official negotiation process without delay. The Deputy Prime Minister emphasised: "We rely on the political will of the EU member states to adopt the negotiation framework in June. This does not require an additional report on Ukraine's progress in implementing the four steps set out by the European Commission as part of the 2023 Enlargement Package."

    The participants also discussed the protection of the rights of national minorities (communities). Olha Stefanishyna emphasised that the protection of the rights of national minorities (communities) remained an absolute priority for Ukraine. Thus, on 21 May, the State Service for National Minorities and Freedom of Conscience established the Council of Public Associations of National Minorities (Communities) of Ukraine, which represents 18 national minorities. In addition, preparations are underway for the National Minorities Forum scheduled for 7 June in Kyiv.

    A separate block of the conversation was Ukraine's need for additional funding for the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as the SES). The Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of additional funding for the purchase of special equipment for the SES.

    "This is extremely important due to the ongoing destruction caused by russia's aggression against Ukraine. The SES plays a key role in rescuing Ukrainian civilians and clearing dangerous areas. We look forward to the opportunity to allocate part of the funds from the frozen russian assets to meet the needs of the SES," the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.

    Director of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Gert Jan Koopman underlined the visibility of Ukraine's progress on its path to EU membership and reaffirmed the EU's commitment to support Ukraine in its fight against the war unleashed by russia and its further integration into the European Union.