Espreso. Global

It's not Ukraine's current leadership that will sign EU integration agreements

13 November, 2023 Monday

The European Commission has suggested that EU member states initiate talks regarding Ukraine joining the European Union


Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, highlighted this move as historic, and rightfully so. It will help Ukraine distance itself permanently from its Soviet and imperial history and the "Russian world."

This decision is not yet final. It awaits approval at the EU summit on December 14.

Before the EU approves the negotiation framework in March of next year, Ukraine must meet four conditions. This document will serve as the starting point for talks on Ukraine's entry into the European Union.

Ukraine must meet the following conditions:

  • Approve the government's proposed law to increase the staff of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
  • Remove from the Law on Prevention of Corruption regulations that limit NACP's authority to continue verifying assets that have already undergone inspection. Also, eliminate restrictions on the agency's authority to check the property acquired by declarants before entering civil service.
  • In the context of de-oligarchization, endorse a lobbying law aligned with European standards.
  • Enact a law considering the remaining recommendations from the June and October 2023 Venice Commission, particularly those related to the law on national minorities. Also, address Venice Commission recommendations concerning laws on the state language, media, and education.

In my view, pursuing EU membership shouldn't lead to compromises that harm Ukraine's national interests. Joining the EU won't happen overnight; it's a lengthy process requiring Ukraine to meet various conditions and align its laws with EU standards. This involves more than just passing legislation—it's about implementing standards in real-life situations, especially in politics.

I'm particularly uneasy about the fourth requirement regarding national minorities and the Venice Commission's suggestions for changes in state language, media, and education laws.

Adhering to recommendations becomes impossible if they restrict the use of the Ukrainian language in Ukraine. Contrary to some officials' claims that these changes won't affect knowledge of the Ukrainian language, the issue extends beyond just learning the language. It involves ensuring that the Ukrainian language is not restricted in media and education.

I strongly believe that Ukrainian should be the language of international communication in Ukraine, not just the official state language as outlined in the Constitution.

Furthermore, it would be wise for the current authorities to halt the hype about Ukraine joining the EU. The current leadership is unlikely to sign off on Ukraine's EU membership. Statements by Vice Premier on European Integration, Olha Stefanishyna, suggesting that Ukraine can complete EU entry negotiations in two years, are unrealistic.

Under the current corrupt government, this is highly – highly – unlikely.

While laws may be passed to address corruption, the reality is that the authorities continue to steal from the Ukrainian people, the national budget, and foreign aid on an unprecedented scale, amounting to billions of hryvnias.

The authorities can still attempt to deceive our partners, although I doubt its effectiveness. The Ukrainian people, however, are well aware of the corruption and looting situation in Ukraine.

According to a survey commissioned by the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia newspaper and conducted by the Razumkov Center's sociological service, the majority of citizens believe that a high level of corruption, not war, poses the main obstacle to Ukraine's accession to the EU.

51.7% of respondents named corruption as the greatest obstacle to Ukraine's EU accession, while only 19% cited war.

This reflects a verdict on the current Ukrainian government, which, despite telling positive news on TV, fails to convince the majority that 2 + 2 = 5.

EU integration is possible through the negotiation process that will oblige power in Ukraine to make the necessary decisions that will make it impossible for the current power to exist in an unnatural environment, creating a system that excludes looters, incompetents, and traitors in power. 


About the author. Vitaliy Bala, political scientist, political consultant, director of the Agency of Situations Modeling

The editorial board does not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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