This year should be the time when there will be no more obstacles to start negotiations on Ukraine’s full EU membership. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyyyy on February 2, speaking in Kiev at a joint meeting of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the Board of the European Commission.
“Ukraine and the European Union are no longer separate subjects of European life. Our values are shared. Our destiny is common. Our enemy is common. Our defense is common. It means that our life is united,” the Ukrainian leader said.
He said that the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, had given him a report on the second part of Ukraine’s responses to questions from the European Commission, posed in order to determine Ukraine’s progress on the path to European integration.
“This report contains a detailed analysis of the state of regulatory and legal approximation of our State with the acts of European Union law. But it is also, I think, and a little more. It is a symbol of the fact that the goal of full unification of Ukraine and the European Union has already turned into concrete, practical, and quite fast work at your level, Prime Minister, at the level of officials,” Zelenskyyyy stressed.
Ukraine’s president said that based on this report, the country’s government will begin a meaningful self-assessment of “where we are already quite close and where we still need and need to work.”
Zelenskyyyy noted that an updated plan of priority measures has been drawn up to strengthen the implementation of a deep and comprehensive free trade area for the next two years: “It is about further integration of sectors of Ukraine’s economy and the EU market. That is, “visa-free industrial travel”, Ukraine’s joining the EU roaming space, further liberalization of transport and trade, as well as other very practical things”.
Ursula von der Leyen noted that the visit of the European Commission delegation to Kiev will be dedicated, in particular, to the future of Ukraine in the European Union.
“Almost a year has passed since Putin made a brutal invasion of Ukraine. But it was the year of the legendary courage of Ukrainians, which the whole world knows, and the exceptional unity of the community Europe has been close to Ukraine since day one, because we know that the future of our continent is in Ukraine. You are fighting not only for yourself, but for much more – for the freedom of the European continent,” said the head of the European Commission.
Von der Leyen stressed that one of the most important tasks today is to ensure Ukraine’s economic security, stable and predictable financial support.
She recalled that two weeks ago the first tranche of EU macro-financial assistance to Ukraine was received, providing for the allocation of 18 billion euros in 2023.
Von der Leyen tweeted that his current visit to Ukraine is the fourth since the Russian aggression began. She added that she had arrived with a team of European commissioners: the 24th Ukraine-European Union summit will be held in Kiev on February 3.
As Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal pointed out at a joint meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Council of the European Commission, over the past year Ukraine has made significant progress on the issue of European integration, as well as on the way to the implementation of related reforms. Ukraine joined ENTSO-E, there was a cancellation of quotas and duties on Ukrainian goods, the liberalization of transport, “customs visa exemption”, joining the Digital Europe program, candidate status has been obtained, hundreds of laws and government acts aimed at rapprochement with the EU, recalls the government portal of Ukraine.
“In order to take the next steps in European integration, we are completing the implementation of 7 recommendations from the European Commission. We are preparing to present the results at the Ukraine-EU summit and are waiting for a strong political signal regarding the approach of the start of the accession negotiation process”, explained the head of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers.
At a January 13 cabinet meeting, Shmyhal said Ukraine hopes to go all the way to European Union membership in less than two years.
According to RBC-Ukraine, the Prime Minister of Ukraine underlined that the country will prepare for direct negotiations on EU membership alongside the conformity assessment, adoption and implementation of EU legislation.
Investigation into corruption on the eve of the Ukraine-EU summit
On the February 1 Facebook site, the SBU announced that it had revealed large-scale schemes for the embezzlement of 40 billion hryvnias. [about one billion dollars at a commercial rate] former management of PJSC Ukrnafta and PJSC Ukrtatnafta.
According to the Ukrainian press, on February 1, searches were carried out at the home of businessman Ihor Kolomoisky, former interior minister Arsen Avakov, head of a department at the Ministry of Defense Bogdan Khmelnytsky and Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was arrested on February 2 for two months with the right to post bail of 402 million hryvnias.
UNIAN also notes that the State Investigation Bureau has reported suspicions against Igor Nasalyk, the former head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, whose official negligence led to budget losses of nearly of 1.5 billion UAH in favor of one of the gas oligarchs.
Russian aggression has united Ukraine and the European Union
Valeriy Dymov, director of the Forum Center for Public Information Technologies, says Russia’s aggression today has united Ukrainian society on Ukraine’s prospects for membership of the European Union and NATO.
“We are much closer to our prospects vis-à-vis the EU than a year ago. Similarly, the West has finally realized that its policy, in public statements, at the political level, of containing and appeasing Russia so that it does not provoke it in the context of a possible Ukraine’s entry into the EU was a mistake,” Dymov told the correspondent. of the Russian service “Voices America”. He also noted that the insufficient fight against corruption in Ukraine is one of those problems that hinder movement in the EU.
“For example, against the application for EU membership, there were warnings for Ukraine from Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands – leading countries in anti-corruption activities. They said that the fight against corruption should not be implemented at the level of words, but of actions. This led to a breakthrough, for example, in the appointment of a special anti-corruption prosecutor, who could not be appointed for six months,” Valery Dymov said.
The purge of personnel, according to Valery Dymov, about which the Ukrainian press speaks, indicates the need to actively fight corruption in the country. The political scientist points out that Putin, with his aggression, went his own way, uniting Ukrainians and the West, Ukraine’s task is to consolidate European aspirations with concrete actions.
“When Ukraine says that we went our own way and that there are duties, the authorities forget that the Ukrainians went and follow the way in the fight against Russia, and the tasks are in front of the authorities. And that they don’t confuse their pocket with the state,” says Dymov.
Legal basis of European integration
Olga Skripnik, head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, notes that legally the process of joining the European Union takes several years. There are several priorities in this process, which are indicated in the relevant EU agreements. Among the main ones are judicial reform and the question of the constitutional court, the independence of the judiciary. These reforms will be essential and the European Union will follow them closely”, explains Olga Skripnik.
An effective anti-corruption policy, according to her, is also one of the key issues that must be addressed in order to join the European Union. , unfortunately, are numerous. We see changes in personnel, which indicates that even during the war, we cannot overcome corruption,” the expert says.
She also underlined that the reform of the ombudsman institution remains a very important issue in the field of human rights activities.
“It is very important for Ukraine to move from political quotas to a real transparent election policy for this position with the involvement of the human rights environment,” notes Skrypnyk.
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