The leaders of the European Union agreed this Thursday to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, without the support of Hungary, whose Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, has been absent from the room in a maneuver agreed with the rest of the heads of state and of Government that has allowed the approval of the decision that the other 26 Member States did support.
In a message on social networks, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, has confirmed the 'green light' to open accession talks for Ukraine and Moldova, while Georgia has received candidate status to enter the bloc. Finally, the meeting has forged, without Hungary, the commitment to open negotiations with kyiv, thus following the recommendation of the European Commission that pointed in this direction.
"It is a powerful political signal to tell Ukraine that we are at its side and it is important for the credibility of the EU," Michel explained a few minutes later, in informal statements to journalists gathered at the Council headquarters to follow the summit.
In the conclusions of the meeting, the leaders invite the Council to adopt the respective negotiating frameworks with Ukraine and Moldova, once the relevant steps set out in the recommendations of the European Commission have been completed.
Regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina, European leaders have agreed to open negotiations once there is the necessary degree of compliance with the integration criteria set by the European Commission and will study a report from Brussels next March.
The Hungarian Prime Minister has been absent from the room to not vote in favor of the step with Ukraine and Moldova and, in this way, the EU has saved the consensus required to make the decision, while Budapest insists on its opposition to membership. "Hungary does not want to participate in a bad decision," the Magyar leader explained in a video on social networks.
Orbán arrived at the summit in Brussels rejecting all measures of military and financial support for kyiv, in addition to the decision itself to open negotiations. "It makes no sense, it is irrational and a wrong decision to start negotiations with Ukraine under these circumstances. Hungary's position will not change," he noted about the decision taken by the EU.
In any case, this is only the first step to begin discussing the entry of Kiev and Chisinau into the EU, since formal negotiations do not start until all EU governments agree, again unanimously, on a framework or mandate. for negotiations with the candidate country. In fact, Hungary already warns that this Thursday's decision is provisional and the Member States will have to unanimously agree on "the specific negotiation package" and during the negotiation process "at least 70 unanimous decisions" will be needed.
The summit before Christmas was called to take the step with Ukraine and Moldova. Both countries applied to join the EU following the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022. Kiev and Chisinau received candidate status just four months later in June, when it set some priority reforms to give the 'green light' to negotiations. of accession.
Until the very beginning of the summit, Orbán insisted on his blocking position, alleging the reforms that the European Commission placed as a priority. "We have set seven conditions and the Commission's own assessment is that three of the seven have not been completed, so it makes no sense for us to negotiate," argued the Magyar leader upon his arrival at the meeting of European leaders.
A "HISTORIC" DAY
The first reactions to the decision of the European Council have come through the social network that they have celebrated with "pride".
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has highlighted in a message on the social network proud" that the Union has kept its promises and "satisfied" by its partners.
The president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, has also received the news with "pride" for all those who fight for the values of the EU and who "look at Europe as a beacon of hope." "We have kept our promises. We have made history. Now we will write the future together," she added.
The High Representative for foreign policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, has stressed that the EU has taken a "historic" step towards a "stronger European family" and that the decision of the European Council is a "testimony of commitment and dedication" of partners to common values and EU reforms.
Meanwhile, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has pointed out that this is "a historic day for Europe" and has had a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, to congratulate him on the decision taken. Sánchez congratulated Ukraine and Moldova on the Council's decision, which represents a first step towards their incorporation into the EU.
"It is a victory for the unity of the EU! Victory for all of Europe!" also celebrated the Lithuanian president, Gitanas Nauseda; while Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas speaks of a "historic day!" in which the decision has been made to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova "against all odds".
His Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkevics, added that Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are "indispensable" parts of Europe and that they "deserve to live as free and democratic nations, and in peace!"