• Українською
  • Olha Stefanishyna took part in a special meeting of EU ministers dedicated to EU enlargement
    Service of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, posted 30 April 2024 16:54

    On Tuesday, 30 April, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna addressed a special meeting of the European Union’s General Affairs Council at the invitation of the Belgian Presidency.

    The meeting took place against the backdrop of the 20th anniversary of the historic enlargement of the EU, when 10 new member states joined the EU (2004). The meeting was attended by the EU ministers of the member states and 10 high-ranking officials of the countries seeking EU integration, namely: Ukraine, Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Georgia and Kosovo.

    The discussion focused on the lessons of previous waves of enlargement, the importance of achieving and adhering to the rule of law criteria by the candidate countries as well as by the EU members.

    In her pre-meeting remarks, Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, which holds the EU Presidency, stressed that the invitation to the meeting of all countries with a membership perspective sent a powerful signal.

    According to the Belgian Foreign Minister, this is the first meeting of the General Affairs Council to bring together not only the 27 member states, but also all partners with a European perspective. This is a very powerful signal that is being sent to them today. A signal that they are already part of the family.

    During the press conference, Hadja Lahbib stressed that the war in Ukraine had given a new impetus to discussions on enlargement.

    According to her, in the Grenada Declaration signed last October, the European Council clearly stated that enlargement was a geostrategic investment in peace, security, stability and prosperity. But the Granada Declaration also clearly sets out the benchmarks for which both future member states and the EU itself must prepare. It is about reforms, both for future members and for the EU itself.

    Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna expressed gratitude to the EU member states and candidate countries for the solidarity and support they continued to provide to Ukraine amid russia’s ongoing full-scale war. She also noted the recognition by European colleagues of Ukraine’s progress in its transformations on the European integration path.

    “The demand for justice and the rule of law is, first and foremost, the demand of the Ukrainian people, the demand of the Revolution of Dignity, which has been paving the way for Ukraine’s European movement for the past 10 years. With the outbreak of a full-scale war and the decision to grant Ukraine the status of an EU candidate, we have further intensified and mobilised our efforts, and now I can confidently state that the key institutions have been formed, the necessary reforms have been launched, we have ensured the restart of the entire judicial system, built anti-corruption bodies; we are now working hard to strengthen the established instruments. At the same time, we are also focusing on demonopolisation, creating a proper basis for competition by bringing Ukrainian legislation in line with EU law,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

    She also underlined the importance of maintaining the high dynamics of the negotiation process and said she expected a decision to hold the first intergovernmental conference and adopt the negotiating framework proposed by the European Commission during the Belgian EU presidency in June this year.

    “We have already started working on preparations for the next steps of the negotiation process, maps on the rule of law and public administration reform. This is just the beginning for us. But we are in very good shape, prepared institutionally, and are determined to maintain the momentum,” Olha Stefanishyna emphasised.

    Finally, she thanked for the expert support and exchange of experience provided by the member states to help Ukraine on its way to membership.