At the conclusion of September, representatives of East Europe Foundation visited Germany to participate in a roundtable discussion titled, “Moving Towards EU Membership – Reforms in Ukraine and the EU as a Prerequisite for Deeper Integration”. The event was organized by our friends and partners LibMod, or the Center for Liberal Modernity, in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
The discussion in Berlin took place within the framework of the Ukraine in Europe: Parliamentary Dimension Program. Ilona Khmeleva, the Foundation’s Program Manager, and Lesia Luchkovska, Foundation Program Coordinator, joined the expert discussion on the state of affairs, challenges and prospects of Ukraine’s path to the European Union.
“Ukraine’s European integration depends on the EU’s internal reforms and on the success of post-war reconstruction”, said Dr. Khmeleva. “These things are obvious to Europe. But there is another element that is often forgotten. The EU is an additional security guarantee. Ukrainians associate European integration with stability and peace. That is why this process should take place as soon as possible. The support for European integration in Ukraine is unprecedented. But Ukrainians also have high expectations of the EU. We have to work together to maintain this trust.”
The discussion included high-ranking representatives of the EU and Germany and experts from leading European think tanks. For several hours, participants discussed Ukraine’s reforms’ compliance with EU criteria and standards, EU policy and its efforts to expand capacity and reform accession procedures, Ukraine’s European integration during the war and resilience and reconstruction of our country.
One central topic was the security situation in Ukraine which hinders reforms and economic activity, including the attraction of foreign investors. Experts also discussed Ukraine’s gradual integration into the Single Market before full accession to the EU is possible.
“Acquiring candidate status is both a prospect and a challenge that requires significant efforts to avoid the ‘candidate trap’, which is often associated with a lack of political will on the part of Brussels,” said Ms. Luchkovska. “In the short term, Ukraine is working to get a positive decision on the opening of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU in December of this year, which should be understood as the beginning of a new stage – the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation and institutional system with the acquis communautaire. How complicated and lengthy this procedure may be depend both on practical fulfillment of criteria by Ukraine and on the political will of all member states to further expand the EU.”
We are pleased to participate in discussions at this level and defend Ukraine’s rights abroad. It is important to talk about the powerful potential and capabilities of our country as well as the challenges we face. Especially during Russia’s aggressive war.
LibMod and the Bertelsmann Stiftung plan to repeat a similar event in a year to assess the state of affairs in 2024. We hope in a year’s time Ukraine will have even more support and bold decisions from our EU partners.
The Ukraine in Europe: Parliamentary Dimension Program is being implemented by East Europe Foundation with the Berlin-based Zentrum Liberale Moderne with funding from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.