Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said government authorities hope to start negotiations on joining the EU in the first half of this year,

“We are waiting and want to receive the approval of the European Council at the next meeting (this week – ed.) and believe that we will be able to start negotiations on accession in the first half of this year,” Shmyhal said in an interview with Euractiv, Ukrinform reports.

His comments followed the European Commission’s decision to send a draft framework for deliberations on Ukraine and Moldova’s accession to be EU member states last week.

“We hope that our European partners will approve it without any additional amendments, as proposed by the European Commission... The President (of the European Council – ed.) Charles Michel named 2030 a possible target year for further EU enlargement, but we will do our best for Ukraine, to make it happen earlier, right after our victory,” Shmyhal said.

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According to him, Ukraine will complete its “homework” very quickly. “I believe that it will take us no more than two years,” he added.

In a recent report by the Bruegel think tank, as well as in internal EU documents seen by Euractiv, the financial costs of Ukraine’s accession to the union are estimated at €110-136 billion ($120-148 billion) within the seven-year EU budget, which is approximately 0.10-0.13 percent of the bloc’s collective GDP.

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“We have seen the reports, but the Ukrainian market, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian raw materials and critical materials, and other sectors can bring much more in terms of security and economic benefits,” Shmyhal said.

Asked whether he was worried that some EU member states, such as Hungary, would seek to slow down the process due to bilateral issues, Shmyhal said that “contentious issues can be resolved during negotiations during the two-year process.”

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