European Western Balkans

EU greenlights accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, decision on Bosnia still on hold

European Council meeting, 25 March 2022; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – The European Union decided on Thursday to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, leaving the decision on Bosnia and Herzegovina for another meeting once the country meets the necessary conditions.

“EU will open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is reached and has invited the European Commission to report by March to take such a decision”, said European Council President, Charles Michel.

The European Council confirmed its full and unequivocal commitment to the perspective of the membership of the Western Balkans in the EU and called for the acceleration of that process.

EU leaders agreed on Thursday to open EU accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova and to grant candidate status to Georgia. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, had been threatening to veto the decision on Ukraine until the last moment. He eft the meeting when the vote on the decision to open accession talks with Ukraine was supposed to take place. Orban’s absence facilitated a unanimous decision by the European Council.

In a short video posted on X, right after the decision was taken, Orbán doubled down on his opposition but admitted to having abstained. It was later revealed that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suggested the Hungarian premier leave the room.

“Hungary’s position is clear: Ukraine is not prepared to start negotiations on EU membership. It is a completely senseless, irrational and incorrect decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances, and Hungary will not change its position,” Orbán said.

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