How the status of an EU candidate will affect the lives of Ukrainians

How the status of an EU candidate will affect the lives of Ukrainians

President Volodymyr Zelensky called the beginning of the week historic for Ukraine:

– A truly historic week is beginning when we will hear the answer from the European Union for Ukraine. We already have a positive decision of the European Commission, at the end of the new week there will be a response from the European Council. I think it's obvious to everyone that since 1991 there have been few such fateful decisions for Ukraine as we expect now. And I am sure that only a positive decision is in the interests of the whole of Europe.

But what exactly does this status mean for our country? How will everything affect ordinary citizens?

1. What are the conditions for obtaining candidate status

Ukraine must carry out a series of “ambitious and structural” reforms that will eliminate corruption, the influence of oligarchs, and strengthen private property rights and the labor market.

“A country's ability to cope with competitive pressures in the EU will depend critically on how post-war investments in Ukraine are planned and structured to renew its physical capital, improve educational outcomes and stimulate innovation,” the EC explained.

< p>The European Commission has identified 7 tasks for Ukraine:

  • reform of the Constitutional Court;
  • continuation of judicial reform;
  • fight against corruption, including the appointment of the head of the SAP;
  • fight against money laundering;
  • implementation of the anti-oligarchic law;
  • harmonization of audiovisual legislation with the European one;
  • change of legislation on national minorities.

2. Can it be taken away?

Yes, they can. The European Commission, recommending that Ukraine be recognized as a candidate for EU membership, proposed another unprecedented decision – to withdraw this status from the country if Kyiv fails to fulfill a number of conditions. Such provisions have not yet been in the decisions of the EC on the membership of any other state.

Brussels reserved the right to withdraw Ukraine's candidacy if the country's authorities do not fulfill the 7 conditions of the European Union. But the document does not contain a deadline by which to demonstrate readiness to carry out systemic reforms. However, it is obvious that no one expects this until the end of the active phase of the war and martial law.

3. What will this give Ukraine?

“Ukraine will become a full member of EU programs and initiatives, open both to EU countries and with the status of a candidate for membership. Ukraine, as a candidate country, will have greater opportunities to have its voice heard in shaping EU policy. Having received candidate status and started membership, Ukraine will become more attractive for investors.

Ukraine will have affordable financial assistance for countries preparing to join the EU (Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA). Such assistance can be provided through grants, investments or as technical assistance,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, head of government, wrote on Facebook.

4. Will this help us in the war?

Vladimir Zelensky said that the status of a candidate for EU membership will help Ukraine bring victory in the war.

On his Twitter, the head of state welcomed the positive conclusion of the European Commission on granting Ukraine candidate status. He noted that “this is the first step towards EU membership, which will certainly bring our victory closer.”

Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olena Kondratyuk said that the status of an EU candidate would help break the chain of war with the Russian Federation.

“This is a real opportunity to break the chain of war with the Russian Federation and bring Ukraine closer to its strategic goal of being a member of the European union and NATO. Moreover, it is for the European Union to wrest Ukraine out of the “gray zone” of influence of the Russian Federation,” she stressed.

5. How long will we be candidates – is there a deadline?

No. Moreover, the status of a candidate does not guarantee that after some time Ukraine will be admitted to the European Union. For example, Turkey, which became a candidate for EU membership in 1999, is still quite far from joining the organization due to the authoritarian style of government of Recep Erdogan.

North Macedonia was declared a candidate back in 2005, Montenegro – in 2008, and Serbia and Albania in 2009. But none of them has yet joined the European Union.

6. How does Russia view Ukraine's European perspective?

Earlier, Moscow viewed Ukraine's European integration more or less neutrally and much softer than the question of its accession to NATO. In March, representatives of the Russian delegation at the talks with Kyiv said that Russia would not object to the country's accession to the EU.

However, in May, against the backdrop of arms supplies to Ukraine and increased sanctions, Russia's position changed dramatically. Dmitry Polyansky, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, said that Russia no longer sees a difference between Ukraine's accession to the European Union and NATO.

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