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Updated Jun 25, 2024, 12:48pm EDT
Europe
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Semafor Signals

EU begins accession talks for Ukraine, a ‘dream made reality’ for Zelenskyy

Insights from Centre for European Reform, The Bulwark, and Foreign Affairs

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Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ursula von der Leyen
Denis Balibouse/Reuters
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The News

The European Union formally began accession talks for Ukraine on Tuesday, marking the start of a process that is likely to take years. It also entered into talks with Moldova.

Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for European integration called the moment “historic;” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message “we have made this dream a reality.”

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The talks come as Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen, Portugal’s António Costa, and Estonia’s Kaja Kallas appear poised to take Europe’s top jobs.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Russia ally Hungary could slow Ukraine’s accession process down

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Sources:  
Centre for European Reform, Ukrainska Pravda

Hungary had previously vetoed expansions to the EU to block Ukraine, and while accession is now underway, Hungary could still stall the process, the Centre for European Reform think tank noted, especially as it takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in July. While the presidency has limited policy influence, it could hit the EU’s reputation, the think tank added. Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that though Hungary did not agree with Ukraine’s accession, it would not block negotiations, which he described as a “politically motivated process.”

Bloc needs to focus on ‘hard security’

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Source:  
The Bulwark

The start of accession talks casts an optimistic outlook, but the geopolitical situation in Europe is “far less encouraging,” The Bulwark, a center-right US outlet argued. The bloc should “abandon their traditional emphasis on technocratic reform and reevaluate the region with a focus on hard security” The Bulwark added, if they hope to fend off Russia. Ukraine is struggling to prevail in its fight against Russia’s invasion, while Moldova has experienced Russian-backed interference attempts. One potential solution could be forming a secondary security alliance in Europe to offer more protection and support to these countries without involving NATO.

EU enlargement could weaken its stability

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Source:  
Foreign Affairs

The EU needs to ensure that any expansion preserves its democratic stability, Foreign Affairs argued. Joining the EU involves adopting European laws, but also changes in institutions, market structures, and the foreign relations of candidate countries, which can cause economic and political shifts, Foreign Affairs argued. A dual approach of rapid, security-driven enlargement and slower, thorough integration is essential. “To win the peace, the biggest challenge will be to ensure that the enlargement process moves quickly enough to be credible and slowly enough for the candidate countries to manage the huge costs of adjustment,” the outlet wrote.

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