Ukraine’s Path to Obtaining the candidate status for EU membership

  

The first basic document defining the foundations for cooperation between Ukraine and the EU was the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, and Ukraine of June 16, 1994. The document outlined the basics of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. Defining the objectives of such cooperation, it was said, firstly, about strengthening and expanding the relations between the parties of the Agreement, and secondly, about establishing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the parties.

Obtaining the status of a full member of the EU as a strategic goal of Ukraine was first declared by the President of Ukraine in 2005. On January 13, 2005, the European Parliament almost unanimously adopted a resolution on the intentions of the European Parliament to approach the position with Ukraine on membership.

The Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part (Association Agreement), ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on September 16, 2014, replaced the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, and Ukraine of June 16, 1994, defining updated priorities.

On September 16, 2014, the European Parliament ratified the Association Agreement simultaneously with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The aim of the Association Agreement was to create a zone of deep and comprehensive free trade between Ukraine and the EU, strengthening cooperation in the political and economic spheres, access of Ukrainian business entities to the EU internal market, as well as adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to the EU Law. The Association Agreement was an important step on the way to the next stage – the conclusion of the Treaty of Accession to the EU.

On February 21, 2019, confirming the European identity of the Ukrainian people and the irreversibility of Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic course, the norms on strategic course of Ukraine for membership in the EU and NATO were established in the preamble to the Fundamental Law, three articles and transitional provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine.

The establishment of institutional mechanisms for the implementation of the state policy of European integration of Ukraine has taken place since the beginning of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, but was finally formed after the ratification of the Association Agreement.

Ukraine aims at full integration and accession to the EU, and today Ukraine has an institutional coordination mechanism for the formation and implementation of state policy in the field of European integration. In 2014, the Government Office for Coordination on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration (hereinafter – the Government Office) was established within the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which provides organizational, expert-analytical and information support for the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in the field of European integration. The Government Office has special powers in the field of European integration, including conducting expert examination of draft acts for their compliance with Ukraine’s obligations in the field of European integration and EU Law (acquis), coordinating the consistency of state policy with European integration obligations, and being responsible for planning European integration activities, analyzes the attraction and use of international assistance aimed at supporting European integration, etc.

At the same time, in 2014, as part of the public administration reform, the Institute of Deputy Ministers for European Integration was introduced, which, within its competence, directs the Ministry’s activities in the field of European integration of Ukraine. Deputy Ministers are members of the Government Committee for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

At the same time, Directorates for Strategic Planning and Europeanintegration have been established in the structure of the ministries, whose powers include issues on the implementation of tasks related to the strategic planning of the ministry’s activities and coordination within the competence of activities on European integration, cooperation with international organizations and international financial institutions. Today, the European integration departments of the ministries coordinate the internal coordination of the positions of the sectoral departments before submitting draft decisions for interdepartmental agreement, monitor the implementation of the Agreement at the level of the ministry, inform the Deputy Ministers for European integration about potential problems and propose ways of their solution.

The independent structural departments for European integration have not been created in all central executive authorities. In some central executive authorities functions are performed simultaneously by several structural departments, in others, special structural departments are not provided, and the corresponding functions are assigned as additional to other structural departments (including structural departments on international cooperation).

In addition,a new institute, the position of the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, which politically directs the European integration activities of ministers and helps to overcome differences between them, was introduced in 2016. In particular, the competence of theDeputy Prime Minister includes issues of coordinating the activities of central executive authorities and other state authorities in the field of European integration and representing Ukraine’s position in relations with the EU.

Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine heads the Government Committee for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, International Cooperation and Regional Development, which preliminarily reviews draft acts that, according to the expert opinion of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, are not in conformity with the obligations in the field European integration or EU Law (acquis).

In April 2022, Ukraine received a questionnaire from the EC to form a Conclusion on granting Ukraine the EU candidate status. The questionnaire consists of two parts (the first part of the questionnaire is an audit of the state for compliance with the political and economic criteria of EU membership, the second part provides an assessment of the compliance of national legislation with the European acquis communautaire).

Since 1993, when the Copenhagen criteria were formed, each country had to give answers to the EU as far as it meets these criteria. The Copenhagen criteria cover the political and economic spheres, as well as compliance with EU legal acts and the candidate country’s ability to implement them. Political criteria are democracy and the rule of law. Economic criteria are the market economy.

The questionnaire required detailed answers on the level of Ukraine’s approximation to the EU legislation and included plans to achieve the EU standards, if some normative legal acts have not yet been adopted. Ukraine submitted the completed first part of the questionnaire on April 18, and the second part – on May 9.

On June 17, 2022, the EC officially recommended that Ukraine be granted the status of a candidate for EU membership. The EC document specifies separately the list of requirements for Ukraine to be fulfilled. The EC will monitor Ukraine’s progress in implementing these steps and report on them together with a detailed country assessment by the end of 2022.

On June 23, 2022, Ukraine obtained the status of a candidate for EU membership. Representatives of all 27 EU Member States voted for Ukraine candidate status.

Further preparation for EU membership will involve the completion of a comprehensive transformation of all spheres and the introduction of conditions aimed at the protection of every citizen and business, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the EU and its legislation. On this path, Ukraine will be constantly supported by the EC, providing the necessary consulting, financial and other assistance, which will be directed to the transformation of society, the legal system and the economy on the way to EU membership.

In addition, the candidate status opens the possibility of receiving financial assistance. Financial assistance will be available to Ukraine for countries preparing for EU accession (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, IPA). Such assistance may be provided through grants, investments or as technical assistance. The candidate status also opens for Ukraine participation in EU programs and initiatives.

Currently, after granting the candidate status, the EC defines for Ukraine the main components and proposals for negotiations, which must also be unanimously approved by the European Council. The basis for negotiations is the 35 chapters of the questionnaire, grouped into six main clusters: fundamental principles; internal market; competitiveness; Green Agenda; resources, agriculture, and cohesion; external relations. The status of the candidate for EU membership granted by Ukraine requires large-scale work by state authorities on the rapid and effective implementation of defined reforms.

At the moment, it is very important to have the appropriate personnel potential to ensure proper work of state authorities after Ukraine has granted the candidate status for EU membership. In order to strengthen the institutional capacity and increase the personnel potential of state authorities, a number of measures should be implemented, in particular:

  • conducting an analysis of the institutional capacity and personnel potential of state authorities responsible for performing tasks in the field of European integration;

  • on the basis of the results of the analysis ensure the improvement of the institutional mechanism of interaction of state authorities with the aim of providing specialists with a high level of professionalism, capable of competently and responsibly performing tasks connected with the implementation of the state policy of European integration of Ukraine;

  • conducting an analysis of the needs for professional training of the personnel of state authorities responsible for the implementation of tasks in the field of European integration;

  • development of training programs and organization of training for deputy ministers, civil servants of state authorities, responsible for the implementation of tasks in the field of European integration on implementation of institutional changes of the legislative framework after Ukraine granted the status of candidate for EU membership;

  • development of training programs and organization of training for civil servants and local self-government officials, deputies of local councils on certain issues of the state policy of the European integration of Ukraine;

  • wide acquaintance of civil servants and local self-government officials with the priorities of the activities of state authorities regarding Ukraine’s granting the status of a candidate for EU membership, including conducting information campaigns, communication events, etc.

Implementation of the above-mentioned measures can be carried out both through the state budget and within the framework of the implementation of international technical assistance projects. 

 

Research
"EXPERIENCE OF CANDIDATE COUNTRIES FOR THE EU MEMBERSHIP AND UKRAINE REGARDING THE INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY AND IMPLEMENTATION OF STATE POLICY OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION"

 

У дослідженні представлено досвід країн-кандидатів на членство в ЄС та України щодо інституційної спроможності та реалізації державної політики європейської інтеграції

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Read 124 times Last modified on Friday, 28 October 2022 13:21

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