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Homework done: when will Ukraine join the EU?

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Homework done: when will Ukraine join the EU?

On October 17, the Ukrainian parliament voted in favor of the last amendment to the law that separated Ukraine from the start of the EU accession negotiations. Find out when the European Commission will evaluate the membership application and whether Ukraine will be able to join the EU in the near future

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On June 23, 2022, the European Council granted Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership, at which time the President of the European Council Charles Michel called it a historic moment. After that, the European Commission put forward seven requirements that Ukraine must fulfill to start the accession negotiations. The negotiation process was expected to start in 2023.


What stage is Ukraine at now, when will the EU evaluate Ukraine's "homework" and whether this evaluation will be favorable - we will discuss further in the article. 


The last step has been taken: has Ukraine fulfilled the EU's requirements?


On October 17, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the law on PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons), which was the last condition for the start of accession negotiations with the EU. That is, virtually all seven steps prescribed by the European Commission have been completed. And today, Ukraine only has to wait for the EU to evaluate the "homework".


However, the last step, namely the adoption of the law on PEP, caused a flurry of discontent in Ukraine.


What is wrong with the PEP law: who is against financial monitoring and why?


The adopted law provides for lifelong financial monitoring of officials, which, in theory, should help Ukraine fight corruption, which, incidentally, is so strongly emphasized in the United States. However, despite the fact that the adoption of this law is a prerequisite for the EU, another scandal has erupted in Ukraine.


The main opponents of the PEP law were the PEPs themselves. In their opinion, the law will not affect the level of corruption, but will only complicate the life of officials. The main arguments are dominated by two narratives: banks will stop servicing PEPs due to "excessive requirements for their control", which will eventually lead to the fact that the very concept of "public servant" will be immediately associated with discomfort and constant control.


In addition, there is an opinion among officials that they were forced to vote for this law, because without it, the start of the negotiation process would have been postponed.


And although the National Bank of Ukraine is only preparing a mechanism for regulating the work of banks, which will spell out the rules for providing financial services to PEPs, Ukrainian politicians are already in despair. Moreover, for some reason, they are not embarrassed by the fact that most developed countries have long been operating under a similar law.




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When will Ukraine's EU membership application be evaluated?


According to Reuters, the EU executive is going to present an assessment of Ukraine's progress as early as November 8, 2023. It is noted that the assessment will be presented in the annual report of the European Commission. The actual decision to start the accession negotiations will be made on December 14-15, during the EU leaders' summit.


Ukraine's accession to the EU: what are the forecasts?


Experts expect Ukraine to receive a positive recommendation, but they do not rule out "additional requirements", particularly in the fight against corruption and minority rights.


Based on the data published by the New Europe Center analysts, Ukraine has done its "homework" by 8.1 points out of 10. These data were published in a report on September 27, before the PEP law was passed. And today, this score is likely to be close to "excellent."


However, at the same time, any EU member state can veto the start of the negotiation process. In particular, experts agree that pro-russian Hungary could become an obstacle. In addition, after the elections in Slovakia and Poland, analysts' moods also became discouraging, as anti-Ukrainian representatives sometimes came to power.


However, we should not forget that the start of negotiations is only the first step towards actual membership, as Ukraine has to take a lot of "boring" steps aimed at complete reform of Ukrainian legislation. And it is obviously much more difficult to do this in a time of war. Moreover, Ukraine will have to ratify its membership by all EU member states. This may eventually become another obstacle on the way.


At the same time, the Ukrainian government has a rather ambitious goal of being ready for membership two years after the start of negotiations. It should be noted that it took Finland 3 years to achieve this goal, and Poland, for example, 10 years. Therefore, the timeline remains only conditional and everything will depend on the speed and quality of Ukraine's progress.


We remind you! The Verkhovna Rada registered a draft law amending the rules of border crossing during martial law. The document proposes to allow all men to travel abroad for money. Read what conditions are offered to those liable for military service in our previous article.


Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images


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