VILNIUS - Ukraine hopes to start formal EU membership negotiations this year, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says after his recent visit to Kyiv.
"The Ukrainian leaders and the president are highly-motivated to have decisions on EU integration made as soon as possible, and they expect the start of membership talks as early as this year," Nauseda told a press conference on Thursday.
It's important not to waste time on this issue, the Lithuanian president said, adding that Ukraine's progress could be discussed at the informal European Council meeting on February 9-10.
"They presented Ukraine's recent progress since the European Council's decision to grant Ukraine candidate status. They have made progress in seven areas at once, implementing the European Commission's recommendations," the president noted.
Ukraine has adopted amendments in the areas of national minorities, anti-corruption, constitutional framework, Nauseda said, and "everything is being done to ensure that Ukraine reaches this intermediate finish as soon as possible".
"Today, it's very important for us not to waste time, and I do hope we will be able to discuss this issue and this progress as early as at the extraordinary EC meeting on February 9-10, and I hope this will become another important stage in Ukraine's EU integration," the Lithuanian leader said.
In June, EU leaders granted Ukraine candidate status, alongside Moldova, and Georgia was granted a European perspective.
Kyiv, Chisinau and Tbilisi applied for EU membership after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.