Aspen Institute Kyiv and Aspen Institute Germany held a discussion “Ukraine accession to the European Union: Modalities, Timeline and Perspectives”

Aspen Institute Kyiv and Aspen Institute Germany discussed “Ukraine accession to the European Union: Modalities, Timeline, and Perspectives”. Ukrainian and German leaders exchanged views on Ukraine’s prospects in the EU and the benefits that Europe gains from Ukraine’s Accession. Dr. Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany, moderated the event. Natalie Jaresko, Chairperson of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Supervisory Board and the Minister of Economy of Ukraine (2014-2016), made an introductory speech at the beginning of the event.

Ukraine assigned the association agreement with the EU in 2014. Since that time, Ukraine has been in a war with Russia. For all these eight years we have been fighting and practically defending European values and democracy. Nevertheless, during this time our country has implemented several steps, especially in progressing reforms to execute the association agreement and get closer to the integration. Today Ukraine expects to be granted the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union. On June 17, the European Commission plans to adopt its decision. The EU Summit will take place on June 23 — 24.  

Aspen Institute Kyiv launched a series of discussions between Ukrainian and European leaders to explain what Ukraine can bring to the EU and which steps will be next.

With Ukrainian integration into European Union, Europe will become more stable, modernized, and secure:

  • Physical security. The Ukrainian army is strong. It shows significant results in defending European values against the Russian second-largest army.
  • Food security. Ukraine is a strategic player in the food market. Today we see the dependence of other countries in Africa and the Middle East on Ukrainian products. 
  • Ukraine is a champion of digitalization in Europe. In this process, we created a lot of services and facilities that could support the further development of the whole of Europe and the European economy.
  • Ukraine could be a reliable partner for energy security. Ukraine producers could help compensate for the loss of Russian energy resources, including gas, up to 30 percent. Also, the EU candidacy will be a sign for investing more into green energy and clean types of energy to support Europe in this transition.
  • Ukrainian EU integration is a win-win for Ukrainian business and the EU economy. We would be forced to compete with European business, and we are ready for that. It would not shock the Ukrainian economy because we are already strong in market competition. Also, Ukrainian human capital is already partly integrated into the European economy.

Ukraine is not looking for a fast track to becoming a member of the European Union 

The EU candidacy is not a gift but hard homework. Nevertheless, it would be a great sign for Ukrainian society to push its officials to implement needed reforms for EU membership.

We are still fighting corruption problems, but since 2014 lots of homework has been done by introducing multiple transparency tools. Among them are electronic asset declarations for all public officials. Everyone has to declare their income and assets. It is not only about transparency but also accountability counts in case there is a mismatch between the officials’ incomes and lifestyles. All procurement used to be a corruption loophole with prices overstated by over 20-50 percent. Now it moved into the online electronic system Prozorro, whose competitive approach of options allows not only to avoid corruption but also to reduce the procurement prices. Also, the entire anti-corruption institutions were built, which proved that there are no untouchables in Ukraine anymore. And even now, during wartime, not only the Ukrainian government but the entire corruption institutions are working.

Speakers of the event were Olexiy Chernyshov, Minister for Communities and Territories development of Ukraine, Natalya Yemchenko, Director of Public relations and Communications, SCM Investment Group, Olena Halushka, Head of international relations at the Anti-Corruption Action Center, Maria Mezentseva, Deputy Chairperson of Verkhovna Rada Committee of Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union, Natalie Forsyuk, General director of governmental office on European integration and NATO.