Espreso. Global

Corruption in Ukraine and path to EU: comparison with other countries' statistics

7 October, 2023 Saturday

It is quite difficult to assess the level of corruption, as it is a multidimensional assessment, but analysts use aggregate statistics, such as the CPI (Corruption Perceptions Index)

Juncker dismisses 'corrupt' Ukraine joining EU in near future

On October 5, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Ukraine is too corrupt to start EU accession talks with it in December. "Everyone who has dealt with Ukraine knows how corrupt it is. It is not ready for the EU".

This was his reaction to the statement by the current President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who said that Ukraine could become an EU member by 2030. Statements by the German Foreign Minister: "That the EU will soon stretch from Lisbon to Luhansk" and the obviously concrete actions of EU diplomacy chief Borrell, who is taking meaningful and concrete steps to bring Ukraine closer to the EU in December.

EU set to announce Ukraine accession talks by December

It is worth noting that there is a gap between the "start of accession negotiations" and the actual "accession", which takes 5-8 years on average, so Michel is talking about "2030 as an estimate".

With the start of the "accession negotiations" comes the most practical stage of "preparation for accession." Ukraine in the EU is not a security guarantee like NATO, but Ukraine in the EU means that Brussels cannot turn away from Ukraine as "its part." Also, historical practice shows that either joining the EU accelerates integration into NATO (as a common security system), or joining NATO (security component) accelerated European integration (political and economic component).

For Russia, even the possible "start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession" in December 2023 is a threat in that it increases the likelihood of the EU's long-term support for our country in terms of values, emotions, and politics.

How to measure corruption? Corruption Perceptions Index

In general, it is quite difficult to assess the level of corruption, because it is a multidimensional assessment. But analysts use aggregate statistics, such as the CPI (Corruption Perceptions Index).

The CPI, although one of the most primitive, is also one of the most popular in the analysis and evaluation of management decision-making in the context of corruption. And most importantly, it is one of the few that has been fully functional since the 2000s.

The Telegram channel Resurgam, focusing on rebuilding Ukraine after the war, made the following analysis.

To counter the thesis that Ukraine is too corrupt to start EU accession negotiations in December, it would be relevant to compare Ukraine with the post-Soviet countries that are now EU members and their levels of "estimated corruption" at the time of "the start of accession negotiations."

Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, and Slovakia

As of 2022, Ukraine has a CPI score of 33 out of 100 points. Over the past 10 years, Ukraine's rating has improved by 7 points (in 2012, the CPI was 26). For example, in 2000, Ukraine's CPI rating was 15 points and we were ranked 87th out of 90 countries surveyed. Ukraine is showing positive dynamics, but is this result good enough? I think it should be insufficient for us and we should strive for the level of Denmark, which tops the list (90 out of 100 points), but is our level enough to start accession negotiations in December? So let's look at the positions of other countries in 2000.

Poland - the beginning of the EU accession negotiations in 1998 (i.e., the year 2000 is already 2 years after the "start of accession negotiations" (which we only hope for in December) and the introduction of anti-corruption mechanisms by Poland for accession. Poland's CPI rating in 2000 was 41 out of 100. This is 8 points higher than Ukraine's, which is currently awaiting a decision on "starting accession negotiations with the EU."

  • Romania - the beginning of accession negotiations in 2000 (ideal for our situation + size and population are better correlated than Slovakia or Bulgaria, for example). In 2000, Romania's CPI was 29 out of 100. That is, 4 points less than Ukraine has now, but the EU decided to "start accession negotiations".
  • Bulgaria - beginning of accession negotiations 2000 In 2000, Bulgaria's CPI was 35 on a 100-point scale.
  • Slovakia - beginning of accession negotiations in 1998. In 2000, Slovakia's CPI was 35.
  • Latvia - start of accession negotiations 1998. In 2000, the CPI was 34 out of 100.
  • Czech Republic - start of accession negotiations 1998. In 2000, the CPI was 43 out of 100.

The average CPI corridor of the large "eastern enlargement of the EU" ranged from 29 to 43. Ukraine has 33.

The average CPI corridor for a likely major Eastern Balkan potential expansion is as follows: Ukraine - 33 points, Bosnia and Herzegovina - 34, Serbia - 36, Turkey - 36, Albania - 36, Moldova - 39, North Macedonia - 40, Kosovo - 41, Montenegro - 45.  That is, the CPI corridor of the future enlargement of 33-45 points is quite comparable to the corridor of the previous enlargement of 29-43 points.

Among the potential countries at the "beginning of accession negotiations" over the past 10 years, the CPI dynamics was as follows: Ukraine (+7 points), Bosnia and Herzegovina (minus 8 points), Serbia (+3 points), Turkey (minus 13 points), Albania (+3 points), Moldova (+3 points), North Macedonia (minus 3 points), Kosovo (+7 points), Montenegro (+4 points). Kosovo and Ukraine have the best performance in the dynamics.

Of course, this does not reflect the corruption reality by 100%, but certain conclusions can be drawn.

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