Discussion process for Ukraine and Moldova to join EU will be extremely complex, but it is realistic to start these talks in June - Rinkevics

  • 2024-05-02
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The process of EU accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova will be extremely complicated, but it is "quite realistic" to start these discussions already in June this year, as the presidents of the Baltic States have called for in their joint statement, Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics told TV3 this morning.

He reminded that in the discussions on Latvia's accession to the EU, there were areas where discussions were opened and closed quickly, and there were also areas where things were very difficult.

In regards to Ukraine, Rinkevics noted that its accession to the EU could mean quite significant changes in the bloc's economy, including in agriculture. He also said that issues of environmental protection requirements and reforming the state apparatus could be difficult.

"EU membership also means quite a lot of responsibilities, and in a country that is currently at war, it is undoubtedly not so easy to implement reform processes or transformation processes yet. So I think that yes, we need to give that positive signal to Ukraine and Moldova in June that we are starting accession talks. Yes, we have to start talking about specific things, but we have to take into account that this process will not be easy, because there will be a lot of disputes, for example, on agriculture," said the president.

At the same time, he expressed concern about the recent developments in Georgia regarding the law on "foreign agents", which was approved by the Georgian Parliament in its second reading and which has sparked massive public protests.

''The dream of joining the EU, many things already accomplished, and then suddenly the adoption of a law that is very reminiscent of Russian law - the same foreign agents, the unwillingness to talk to people. Even if it is maybe a minority and it is the opposition, to suppress these protests in such a brutal way, [that] in my understanding is now taking Georgia away from starting negotiations [on EU accession]," Rinkevics said, adding that it was hard for him to imagine how a country with such serious problems with the rule of law and democracy could join the EU.

Rinkevics said he hoped that the Georgian government would get its act together, because it is clear that its people want to join the EU. Otherwise, the EU should not continue discussions on Georgia's accession to the EU, the president said. "Georgia was granted candidate status last year largely in advance. Now we see that this advance has not been repaid with work," Rinkevics explained.