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Western aid won't be effective unless Ukrainian government structure changes - politician

8 June, 2024 Saturday
16:19

Ukrainian politician Oleh Rybachuk says that the West won't give more money than the minimum required for a country that doesn't know how to and doesn't want to govern properly

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He expressed this opinion in an interview with Antin Borkovskyi, host of the Studio West program.

"In June, we expect the start of negotiations on membership in the European Union. All these things that we are talking about are not only the position of the Americans, but also the position of the European Union. An independent judiciary is a requirement of the EU and an obligation of the Ukrainian government, and good governance is the same. If we start negotiations on membership, we will face very clear tasks with very strict monitoring. And all of this has merged into one, so it will not be possible to separate the Americans and the EU. And it will not be possible to enter the European Union with the president and five or six advisers, not to mention move forward, so this will have to be changed, whether our government wants it or not," the politician said.

According to him, the demand from the EU and the West for certain changes and reforms in Ukraine's governance is quite logical and justified. The West will not give more money than the minimum required for a country that is unable and unwilling to govern properly.

"I am not saying that it will not give money at all. It's clear that the West has done the maths and come to the logical conclusion that supporting Ukraine now is better, cheaper and more effective from the point of view of Europe's interests than allowing Russia to reach the border with the European Union. This is where we have a common interest with the EU. But at the same time, if you look very pragmatically at what is happening in Ukraine, it becomes clear that with this kind of leadership, with this kind of governance, with this kind of essentially divided government and the dependence of virtually all branches of government on a few people on Bankova Street, we will not get very far. So the question here is that we cannot win this war without the West's help, and Zelenskyy has spoken about this. And the West is well aware that assistance can be ineffective if there are no fundamental changes in Ukraine. And these changes are unavoidable," Rybachuk concluded.

Ukraine's accession to the EU

Kyiv applied for EU membership on February 28, 2022, at the start of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine.

On June 23, 2022, Ukraine was granted candidate status for EU membership.

In May, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine should be ready to join the EU in two years – the country expects to receive a political decision to start accession negotiations this year.

During a speech in parliament on Constitution Day, President Zelenskyy proposed five points of the Ukrainian Doctrine for discussion.

According to Espreso's sources, the European Parliament is considering the possibility of starting negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU this fall.

However, on August 17, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said that Ukraine would not be able to implement all 7 EU recommendations by October, as these are changes that have been implemented over the years.

The next day, Maria Mezentseva, Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Ukraine's Integration with the EU, noted that it is necessary to wait for the October report of the European Commission on the implementation of 7 EU recommendations by Ukraine.

On August 28, European Council President Charles Michel said that the European Union should be ready to accept new member states by 2030. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, expressed support for setting a tentative time frame for new members to join the EU.

On September 8, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said that negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU should begin by the end of this year. According to him, a clear European perspective will inspire Ukrainians on the battlefield.

On September 21, the head of the Servant of the People parliamentary faction, Davyd Arakhamia, said that the Ukrainian parliament has passed 99.9% of what is needed to start negotiations on EU membership.

Media reports suggested that Ukraine would receive a recommendation to start negotiations on November 8. And on December 14-15, the EU summit will decide whether to start membership talks with Ukraine.

On October 26, Stefanishyna expressed confidence that Ukraine would be able to reach a good political decision on joining the EU in December. On October 28, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to EU leaders, calling for unity in the decision to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. On October 31, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba assured that Ukraine would start negotiations on joining the EU this year, barring force majeure. And on November 4, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine was not asking for "concessions" on its way to EU membership.

As of early November, the European Commission considered four of the seven criteria for granting Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership to be fully met.

On November 8, the European Commission released a report documenting Ukraine's progress and recommending that the process of negotiating Ukraine's accession to the EU begin.

On November 27, Zelenskyy spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He said that Ukraine would fulfill all the recommendations for starting accession talks before the December meeting of the European Council, including those related to the rights of national minorities and strengthening anti-corruption institutions.

On December 8, the President of Ukraine signed four European integration laws: the signing took place on the day they were passed by the Verkhovna Rada. Subsequently, the Verkhovna Rada voted to appeal to European states and institutions to support the opening of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU at a meeting of the European Council on December 15.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that Ukraine was successfully moving forward with European integration and was fighting hard for European values, so Ukraine's membership in the EU would mean its ultimate victory. 

Subsequently, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that he believed Ukraine was not ready for EU membership, but would not block the start of accession negotiations.

On November 13, members of the European Parliament called on the Council of Europe to decide on the start of negotiations on Ukraine and Moldova's accession to the EU at its meeting on December 14-15.

On June 7, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal officially confirmed that the European Commission had supported the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union.

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