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The EU flag and the Ukrainian flag fly together by the Tower of the British Parliament as part of a pro-EU demonstration in London on Nov. 15, 2023. (Krisztian Elek/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Officials from the EU and Ukraine are pushing to begin formal accession negotiations as early as June 25, Politico reported on May 21, citing its undisclosed sources.

According to the news outlet, intense diplomacy is being undertaken aimed at convincing the Hungarian government to drop their objections to Kyiv's membership in the bloc.

Hungary is the only EU country to have maintained close ties with the Kremlin since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Budapest has repeatedly opposed sanctions against Moscow and obstructed EU support for Kyiv.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban claimed last November that Ukraine was "light years" away from joining the EU, despite the fact that the European Commission published its official recommendation on Nov. 8, 2023, that Ukraine was ready for talks to begin.

An unnamed EU diplomat told Politico that Hungary may be keen to get the issue resolved before it takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in July.

Earlier this month, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he expects to begin accession negotiations to start in June.

"We are actively preparing the next stage of rapprochement with the European Union for June - we anticipate the adoption of the negotiating framework and the actual start of the negotiations on Ukraine's accession," Zelensky said in his evening address on May 9.

"Our country, our people deserve this," Zelensky added. "It is the lifeblood of the European Union to be a European project that leaves no one outside the EU, no one who truly professes European values."

Also on May 9, Katarina Mathernova, the EU ambassador to Ukraine, said 2030 is a very real date for Ukraine to join the European Union.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola also announced during a visit to Kyiv on May 9 that official negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU should begin before the end of the first half of 2024.

"Introductory negotiations must begin as quickly as possible and I am optimistic that EU member states can approve the negotiating framework in June," Metsola said.

"As you know, the Hungarian presidency of the Council of the EU begins on July 1, so it is important to make the necessary decisions before that, during the Belgian presidency."

Hungary vetoes Council of Europe resolution supporting Ukraine’s peace formula
In a post on Facebook, Peter Szijjarto said that “other plans” had been proposed by others but were not being considered by the Council, and the exclusion of Russia from the body meant peace negotiations could not work. The minister did not specify which other plans he was referring to.
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