To EU Within 2 Years

by Olha Povalaieva
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
To EU Within 2 Years

Ukraine and the EU are preparing for the upcoming summit in Kyiv

On February 3, the EU summit will be held in Kyiv. Prime minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal is preparing an ambitious timetable, according to which in 2023 Ukraine will be able to start preliminary negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union. Ukraine is obliged to fulfil a number of requirements, which are largely related to the issue of corruption in Ukraine. In particular, the issue of legislation on the Constitutional court of Ukraine is still open for the European and Venice Commissions and the advisory body of the Council of Europe. Shmyhal hopes to discuss the issue, as well as to make progress in the field of visa-free regime and customs-free regime for industrial goods, Ukraine's accession to SEPA and European roaming.

"Ukraine is a conundrum for the EU. Many argue that Brussels has a particular responsibility to Kyiv. It was, after all, Ukrainians' fury at the decision of president Viktor Yanukovych to pull out of a political and economic association agreement with the EU at Russia’s behest that triggered the Maidan uprising of 2014 and set the stage for war. As European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen put it: Ukraine is "the only country where people got shot because they wrapped themselves in a European flag," says Politico.

"Ukraine’s close allies in the EU such as Poland and the Baltic countries strongly support Kyiv’s membership push, seeing it as a democracy resisting an aggressor. Many of the EU old guard are far more wary, however, as Ukraine — a global agricultural superpower — could dilute their own powers and perks. Ukraine and Poland — with a combined population of 80 million — could team up to rival Germany as a political force in the European Council and some argue Kyiv would be an excessive drain on the EU budget," Politico.

Friday's summit closes many points: summing up intermediate results, signalling to the Kremlin about Ukraine's European future, finding a balance between Ukraine's desires and possibilities, the formulation of a pan-European communiqué. The meeting between Zelenskyy, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen will clear up a lot. Undoubtedly: Ukraine will be in the EU. And as Charles Michel said during his visit on January 19, "Ukraine is the EU, and the EU is Ukraine." On the same day, speaking before the parliament of Ukraine, the president of the European Council shared his hope that "one day a Ukrainian will hold his job as president of the European Council."

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