The European Commission said on Friday (7 June) that both Ukraine and Moldova are sufficiently ready for the formal opening of EU accession talks.

The Commission confirmed to EU ambassadors that Ukraine has fully fulfilled all four, and Moldova all three, of their outstanding reform steps, to start formal talks, people close to the negotiations said.

For Kyiv, this concerned the fight against corruption (previously fulfilled), de-oligarchization (previously fulfilled), and the protection of national minorities (now fulfilled).

For Chisinau, this related to judicial reform (previously fulfilled), de-oligarchization (previously fulfilled), and the fight against corruption (now fulfilled)

The Commission, and enlargement-friendly member states, have been pushing for the start of formal talks this month, to give a positive signal to both countries for their EU path.

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“We consider that all the steps have been met by the two countries. Now the decision is in the hands of the member states,” European Commission spokesperson Ana Pisonero told reporters in Brussels after the talks.

Separately, the EU’s executive also told EU envoys that an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) for Montenegro could be held quickly, “in light of the recent positive steps taken and fulfilled requirements.”

Almost all 27 member states support holding the first IGC, which would launch the formal negotiations, when EU affairs ministers are expected to meet on 25 June and have welcomed the European Commission’s update.

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But before that, EU member states need to agree on a negotiating framework for both countries, a step Hungary has been delaying for Ukraine for some time now, including on concerns over Kyiv’s treatment of its Hungarian minority in the country.

Hungary, according to several EU diplomats, has expressed doubts about the Commission’s assessment, requesting its concerns to be added to the draft negotiating frameworks.

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A dozen EU member states earlier this week made a joint push to move forward the accession process, and formally kickstart membership talks by the end of June, according to a letter, first reported by Euractiv.

The Belgian EU presidency has said they are working to prepare for both IGC’s to take place on 25 June in Luxembourg, if there is consensus between member states.

While no decision on the frameworks is expected today, EU diplomats said the matter will be discussed in internal working groups, with EU ambassadors expected to return to formally debate the issue next week on Wednesday (12 June).

Some EU member states, such as the Netherlands have to undergo a parliamentary procedure based on the report to receive the green light to approve the next steps.

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