Austrian government opposes "preferential treatment" for Ukraine in EU accession
Federal Chancellor of Austria Karl Neghammer (Photo: EPA, CHRISTIAN BRUNA)

Federal Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer, during a meeting with members of the National Council in the main committee on EU issues, said that the country will not agree to the start of negotiations with Ukraine on joining the EU under the current conditions. In particular, the government believes that there "should be no preferential treatment" towards Ukraine. The press service of the Austrian Parliament wrote about it.

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He justified his statement by the fact that the issue of Ukraine's accession to the EU should not be a higher priority than the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina — it is also currently negotiating its accession.

In addition, the head of the Austrian government also stated that the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, did not consult with the heads of government of the member countries before raising the issue of the prospect of negotiations with Ukraine on joining the EU.

At the same time, the Federal Chancellor of Austria emphasized that the country supports the EU when it comes to solidarity with Ukraine, but without violating the republic's neutrality. According to him, it is primarily about financial assistance to support the "state as a whole."

Read also: Euractiv: the EU may postpone the start of negotiations on the accession of Ukraine to March 2024 through Hungary

The press service of the National Council noted that the topic of starting negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union caused a debate in the parliamentary committee.

According to the agency, the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) opposed negotiations with Ukraine before the EU, and also called on the Austrian government to veto the increase in the multi-year financial framework of the EU, including the fund for Ukraine, and to demand the end of sanctions against the Russian Federation at the EU level. However, this proposal was not supported by the majority of participants.

Ukraine acquired the status of a candidate country for joining the European Union in 2022. At the same time, the European Commission provided Ukraine with an action plan that must be implemented in order to start negotiations on joining the EU.

On November 8, the European Commission recommended starting negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova on joining the bloc.

On December 11, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba met with his Hungarian colleague Peter Sijarto for the first time since the beginning of the Great War. Kuleba said that at the summit of the European Council, which will be held on December 14-15, Western leaders will consider four issues related to Ukraine and its European integration.

President Zelenskyy met and spoke briefly with Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán in the guest box of the Parliament of Argentina.