Monitoring Ukraine’s Accession to European Union

Vincent van Gogh: Wheatfield under Thunderclouds // Public domain

Ukraine is going through a crucial period in its history, continuing its path toward joining the European Union despite a full-scale invasion. It is not a surprise that so much attention is drawn to this process both within Ukraine and beyond its borders.

That is why Bendukidze Free Market Center and the Institute of Economic Research and Political Consultations,  in partnership with Liberte and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, launched the project “Monitoring Ukraine’s Accession Into the EU”. The project team has created a visual monitoring tool for Ukraine’s integration path updated monthly. Leading experts conduct research in the following key areas: the rule of law, free movement of goods and customs, digital transformation, social policy and labor market, entrepreneurship, and industrial policy, as well as transport policy.

So here are some of the key findings after 5 months of research.

Rule of Law

According to the monitoring results, the overall assessment of Ukraine’s progress in the rule of law sector slightly deteriorated. The decrease in progress indicates that Ukraine has not yet taken steps to implement the recommendations of the European Commission’s report of November 8, 2023, regarding Ukraine.

The actual legislative changes do not yet address the main recommendations, namely, eliminating corruption risks within the Supreme Court, establishing an administrative court to hear cases involving central government bodies, and reforming legal education. However, the qualification assessment of judges and the competition for the Constitutional Court are ongoing, which impacts the implementation status positively.

Transport Policy

The experts highlight the importance of adhering to safety measures and regulatory standards, particularly those outlined in EU Directive 2008/68/EC, which aims to harmonize safety rules for the international transport of dangerous materials. However, there were no legislative changes that would affect Ukraine’s integration into the EU in the transport sector. The overall assessment of affairs in the transport sector decreased.

Digital Transformation

The most important issue is harmonizing Ukraine’s legislation with the EU standards in the field of cybersecurity of 5G networks.  It is important because EU cybersecurity norms start not from the moment of providing the 5G service, but from the beginning of forming plans for building infrastructure for its provision.

According to the monitoring results, we have seen improvement over the past month. The overall sector rating improved, largely due to the emergence of new planned legislative changes in February and the adoption of the bill on a single roaming zone with the EU in the first reading.

Social Policy and Labor Market

Ukraine faces challenges in collecting and utilizing data for economic policies, particularly in the realm of social policy and employment. Experts highlight Ukraine’s early stages of aligning with European standards in social policy. However, so far the only adopted changes are related to occupational classification. Also, experts positively assessed the intentions to cancel the permit for the employment of foreigners. But overall the progress in this sphere is slow.

Entrepreneurship and Industrial Policy

There is an urgent need for Ukraine to reform its legislative framework for venture investments to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation. Ukraine has to intensify legislative changes to align with EU Regulation 345/2013 on European venture capital funds. The most significant positive change so far is the approval of simplifications in preparing investment projects. At the same time, experts expressed their concerns regarding the government bills related to the Economic Security Bureau.  The bill regulating pricing for defense procurements was received more positively.

Free Movement of Goods and Customs

The overall assessment of the area remains sufficiently high and positive throughout the entire research period. This was influenced by the adoption of action plans for the implementation of the Integrated Border Management Strategy and the National Income Strategy until 2030. Also, experts noted improved legislative changes due to the adoption of several regulatory acts and the stable implementation of European standards.

For more details about the project please visit the web page:

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Bendukidze Free Market Center