Ukrainian Centre for European Policy: Towards European Integration: A Study of Existing Projects, Stakeholder Needs, and Resource Optimization in Ukraine

2023-11-08 | EU integration, Expert publications

Since February 2022, Ukraine’s relationship with the EU has seen rapid changed after it applied for EU membership and was granted candidacy status in June 2022, subject to fulfilling seven conditions. The accession process entails meeting the Copenhagen criteria, and negotiations must follow the implementation of all EU acquis in the candidate country’s legislation. EU acquis includes thousands of legislative acts, which are divided into 35 chapters The Fundamentals cluster plays a critical role in negotiations under the new methodology, and its opening and closure determine the progression to other clusters. Additionally, political engagement with EU member states is vital, as any member can potentially halt the negotiation process at any stage.

Since 2014, when the Association Agreement was signed, Ukraine has made significant progress in cooperation with the EU. According to UCEP monitoring report, by the end of 2022, 55% of the commitments outlined in the Agreement were successfully implemented, with 30% fully aligned with the EU acquis. However, challenges persist, particularly in sectors like education, intellectual property law, public health, agriculture, and transport, where progress has been relatively less dynamic due to various factors. The initiation of EU accession negotiations can provide renewed momentum to European integration reforms in Ukraine, as it implies the broader and up-to-date EU legislative framework while acknowledging Ukraine’s existing progress. Significant work remains to be done to align legislation with the EU acquis and prepare institutions for full EU membership.

The main goal of this paper is to conduct a comprehensive study of existing initiatives and projects related to the European integration of Ukraine in the period of time 2022-2023 and identify the priorities and needs of key stakeholders involved in the European integration process. To investigate existing European integration projects we conducted 36 interviews with the representatives of public authorities, Ukrainian NGOs, consulting firms and business associations, donors organisations and media. We collected data concerning ongoing European integration projects from the open source data and interviews with representatives of different organizations (public authorities, NGOs, media, business associations etc) to create a database of the projects. Based on the collected information we made some conclusions concerning further European integration projects development.

The full study can be accessed here.