Expert shares Ukraine's key issues towards European integration

Thursday, 1 February 2024

European Pravda, in collaboration with the Ukrainian Center for European Policy supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kyiv, presents a series of discussions on Ukraine's European past and future and the European identity of Ukrainians.

We have spoken on this matter with thinker and founder of the Frontier Institute Yevhen Hlibovytsky and philosopher and president of PEN Ukraine Volodymyr Yermolenko.

This time, editor of European Pravda Yurii Panchenko, had a conversation with the executive director of the Ukrainian Center for European Policy, Liubov Akulenko, the initiator of this series of discussions.

Reads more in the article – Who is responsible for Eurointegration and does Poland want to "kill" Ukrainian industry: a conversation with Akulenko.

The first thing Ukraine needs to do is to be very, very cautious with any predictions regarding the speed of its EU accession.

On the one hand, the forecast that these negotiations could be completed within two to three years is not coming of nowhere. Lithuania, for example, needed only three years for that.

Theoretically, Ukraine could repeat this path and conduct negotiations, not in three but in four years. Predictions about when it can conclude negotiations with the EU need to be very cautious.

Rapid accession negotiations lasting only two years are far from the best solution for Ukraine.

If the negotiation process is very short, Ukraine's business simply won't have time to formulate its demands and defend them.

The tactic of prolonged negotiations, however, also has its drawbacks.

Firstly, if Ukraine goes into long transitional periods, and the longest possible transitional period in the EU is about ten years, it does not motivate us to carry out reforms.

Moreover, we see dangerous trends in the EU. For example, protests by farmers and hauliers.

There is also another problem. Europeans do not know and understand Ukrainians.

For some reason, they believe that Europe ends at the borders of Austria, and even Poland is, to some extent, Terra incognita for them. The only thing Ukraine can impress them with is its inventiveness.

So, we need to learn how to advertise ourselves.

And it is also crucial for Ukraine to complete the reform of the civil service. This is of utmost importance because Ukraine's negotiators will be there fighting for us and defending our positions.

Ukraine is at a stage in negotiations with the EU where replacing the chief negotiator may set the country back many years.

These are very challenging tasks for Ukraine – to form a negotiating team, determine its structure, and ensure the institutional memory of this process.

By the way, Ukraine has a strategy: if you want to achieve something, you need to talk to someone in the President's Office.

Everyone understands that he is the decision-making center for almost all issues.

At first glance, this is not bad, but the question arises: do they have the capacity to carry out Eurointegration work on narrow and specific issues? For example, ecology or transport.

If the presidential office keeps everything to itself, could this lead Ukraine into a trap?

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