Espreso. Global
OPINION

Biggest challenge of European integration is human capital

2 July, 2024 Tuesday
13:55

I often speak at various closed international meetings and always prepare my own discussion points. Maybe it's time to share them publicly for those who might be interested

client/title.list_title

Recently, I shared these points on European integration.

Several foresights over the past year and a half focused on key factors for Ukraine's successful European integration. Here are the main points:

1. The rule of law is the number one factor. Achieving EU membership as a reward for victory, rather than as recognition of implemented reforms, is a false hope for some Ukrainian politicians.

2. Preserving and developing micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is the second crucial factor, though not immediately obvious. Why? Because MSMEs are essential for creating an independent middle class, which drives demand for democracy, good education, and innovation (none of which oligarchs need). In Ukraine, MSMEs are often seen only as a tax source, but their main socio-economic role is much broader. Besides the above, MSMEs support social cohesion, fight poverty (Ukraine is still very poor), and promote regional development. Without strong MSMEs, the country risks becoming a sandwich of oligarchic groups and poor workers paid for "correct" voting. It's easy to destroy MSMEs with hasty, strict regulations, but the EU would then face a larger version of Hungary, which is undesirable.

3. Economic freedom is an obvious factor. At the start of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine ranked 130th in the world for economic freedom. A country with such a low ranking has no chance.

4. Democracy is an obvious factor. Much of Ukraine's economy is post-industrial, relying on people as the main source of added value. Moving away from democracy will drive these people away.

5. Human capital is the hardest issue, involving emigration and immigration.

Emigration means bringing back those who left, influenced by security, infrastructure restoration, and economic freedom. Immigration is about four key issues: economic freedom (is Ukraine a talent magnet or a loser’s haven?), immigration policy (who do we want, not who wants us), the role of language and culture in becoming Ukrainian, and inclusiveness, ensuring society welcomes new Ukrainians.

The European integration of Ukraine is a two-way street: not only is Ukraine joining the EU, but the EU is also joining Ukraine. Otherwise, the process will fail. Look at Turkey's 20-year attempt at European integration, which ended in failure. Blaming just the Turks or Erdogan ignores the complexity of the process.

That’s why there needs to be a clear sequence of actions: first, fundamental reforms like the rule of law, with no compromises. Then, finding complex compromises for a regulatory formula that benefits both Ukraine and the EU.

The first reform should be public governance, especially civil service. Without this, there will be no one to implement the other reforms.

Source

About the author. Valeriy Pekar, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy professor

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

Tags:
Read also:
  • News
2024, Thursday
25 July
21:40
Review
Victorious news of 883rd day of war: Netherlands, Denmark to supply 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, soldiers of 79th Brigade repel one of Russia’s largest assaults 
21:25
Ukrainian boxer Usyk meets with Ukraine's former army chief Zaluzhnyi in London
21:11
OPINION
Kuleba’s visit to China: Many questions, few answers
20:54
Ukraine boycotts UN Security Council meeting chaired by Russia
20:36
Exclusive
Defense Express explains whether Russia and China can build tunnel under Kerch Strait
20:20
In Mariupol, Russians plan to take over 345 more apartments belonging to Ukrainians
20:03
Russian forces intensify offensive actions in two directions - Ukraine's General Staff
19:47
Exclusive
Version with Russian neo-Nazis is implausible: SBU Major General on Farion's murder
19:31
OPINION
The world's not always black or white
19:15
Russian forces strike humanitarian aid car in Kherson, injuring driver
19:00
Ukraine launches Hochu k Svoim project for civilian hostages in exchange for collaborators
18:46
Ukraine peace talks are impossible without China, Russia - Czech president
18:33
Romania claims wreckage of Russian Shahed UAV crashed on its territory. NATO reacts
18:24
Russia attempts to push for peace talks on its own terms - military expert
18:05
Russia drops 1,500-kilogram bomb on village in Kharkiv region
17:47
Russia will take five years to capture four Ukrainian regions - UK army head
17:31
OPINION
Military expert reveals reasons behind Russia's Mi-28 helicopter recent crash
17:14
Suspect in Farion's murder detained in Dnipro
16:54
OPINION
Trump will have to reap what he sowed
16:34
UK intelligence assesses impact of Ukrainian strike on Russian Slavyanin ferry
16:17
"Ukraine expects massive missile attack due to arrival of F-16s": new Russian fake
15:56
755 Ukrainian National Guardsmen remain in Russian captivity – NGU commander
15:16
Ukraine’s soldiers of 79th Brigade repel one of Russia’s largest assaults 
14:55
Ukraine identifies 30 Russian soldiers involved in missile attacks on Kharkiv, Sumy
14:35
Ukrainian border guards evacuate four civilians from near Vovchansk
14:16
Russia takes Luhansk region's schoolchildren to Siberian camp for combat training
13:54
US could help investigate fall of Russian Shahed UAVs in Romania
13:35
UK to purchase Martlet missiles and provide part to Ukraine
13:15
Russian soldiers kill civilian in Kherson region by dropping explosives from drone
12:53
FSB agents planning terrorist attacks in Ukraine, EU detained
12:31
Russia is transferring military equipment and objects to Crimean Bridge – Atesh guerillas
12:15
Netherlands, Denmark to supply 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine this summer
11:53
3 Russian Shaheds cross border with Romania, 25 UAVs shot down over Ukraine
11:34
Spain to provide Ukraine with Hawk air defense systems
11:16
Russia attacks Ukraine with Shahed UAVs, injuring two people in Odesa region
10:55
All Russian equipment in Lyman sector destroyed on approach - Ukraine's 60th Brigade Commander
10:37
Review
Syrskyi’s interview, Crimea blockade as negotiation leverage. Serhiy Zgurets' column
10:16
Russian and Chinese military aircraft intercepted near Alaska
09:59
Russia loses 1,230 troops, 66 UAVs, 11 tanks in one day of war in Ukraine
09:37
Mi-28 military helicopter crashes in Russia's Kaluga region
More news