What Ukraine will get in the European Union

Obtaining the status of a candidate for the European Union by Ukraine is a big deal. They are absolutely right to rejoice (in the photo above – Olga Stefanishina, Minister of European Integration). This status also has direct benefits – both a signal of support from the EU and the obligation to provide this support, but the main thing, of course, is indirect gain. Focusing on the EU is an “anchor”, which is the most important thing for a country with the level of development of Ukraine.

The “anchor” for reforms is the obligations that the country takes on itself and fulfills because it has taken them. Accession to the WTO can be an “anchor” to fight lobbyists and to reduce trade barriers, and this is the main gain from WTO membership (yes, in Russia it was possible to explain this to a tiny percentage of economists and an even smaller percentage of officials and politicians.) An IMF loan can to be such an “anchor” – the government takes a loan, promising necessary, but unpopular reforms, and blames all the difficulties on the need to follow the recommendations of the IMF.

But the EU as an “anchor” is the best that can be. This is what turns citizens’ desire to live like in Europe into support for difficult, complex reforms.

It seems, out of inertia, that the most difficult reforms that await Ukraine are the reduction of corruption and the reduction of the role of “oligarchs”. By inertia, many commentators write about this, not noticing how much the Russian-Ukrainian war shows that the Ukrainian state is functioning quite normally, and not corruptly, and that the “oligarchs” have not played the role they played ten or fifteen years ago for a long time.

The Ukrainian army, which has been fighting in the most difficult conditions for four months in an organized manner, is the best proof that corruption and dysfunction are not at all such integral elements of Ukrainian state bodies.

The political system, which in the conditions of war ensures the work of the army, and civil administration, and exceptionally successful diplomacy, is another proof.

Skeptics note that Turkey received the status of an EU candidate 23 years ago, and so far the prospects are unclear. That’s right, so Turkey is an example of a very successful country. They used the “anchor”, the prospects for joining the EU, in the early stages, and then the “anchor” lost its importance, because the country was already developing vigorously and quickly, and its international status was only rising. If Ukraine in 23 years will not be in the EU, but in the place of Turkey, this is a more optimistic scenario than the normal one, in 5-10 years, joining the EU.



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