Ukraine's membership negotiations with the EU


The accession process is an impulse conducive to the implementation of reforms, including in terms of improving the conditions and predictability of running business in Ukraine.

On June 25, 2024, Ukraine and the European Union countries officially opened accession negotiations aimed at bringing about its membership in the EU. 

The start of the negotiations is, on the one hand, the culmination of Ukraine's long-standing efforts to get closer to the European Community, and a political signal of the EU's openness to Kyiv's aspirations, and on the other hand, an announcement of an accelerated process of implementing reforms and adopting EU law and standards.

After the 27 EU member states agree to start accession negotiations, responsibility for Ukraine's accession process to the EU will return to the European Commission. As part of the monitoring process, the Commission will compare the legal situation in Ukraine with the EU acquis. It will then be possible to start negotiations on the detailed conditions of Ukraine's accession to the EU in each of the 35 thematic chapters. There is a chance that the opening of the first negotiating chapters with Ukraine will take place during the Polish presidency of the Council of the EU in the beginning of 2025.

For business considering involvement in the Ukrainian market, the accession negotiation process will be a signal that Ukraine – its law, economy, and institutions – is getting closer to the EU standards and the prospects for it to be included in the common market, as well as to increase its economic stability. The negotiation process will test the determination to implement the most necessary reforms, including the fight against corruption, the improvement of the functioning of the judiciary and regulatory transparency.

The European Commission recommended the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine, indicating that the country had implemented more than 90% of the expected reforms formulated on the granting of candidate status in June 2022. 

The EC appreciated the progress of recent months, including the introduction of an electronic register of asset declarations and the appointment of new heads of anti-corruption institutions, but recommends further strengthening the independence of these institutions and adopting solutions to clean up lobbying issues.

The state of Ukraine's preparation for integration with the European Union is non-uniform. The EC assesses that the greatest compatibility of EU and Ukrainian law is in the field of energy policy and digital transformation. A moderate level of compliance has so far been achieved in the areas of free trade in goods and capital movements.  The lowest level of compliance with the EU standards is recorded in the areas of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights, social policy, and employment. The scope of harmonization of Ukrainian law with EU labor market requirements is also very low. Agriculture and rural development also require a lot of reform. Ukraine also needs to significantly improve its standards of financial supervision and control, as well as public finance management.

In response to the ongoing war and Russian invasion, the European Union has introduced several trade preferences in the last two years to support the Ukrainian economy. 

One of the key measures was the temporary liberalization of trade, which includes the elimination of tariffs on Ukrainian products exported to the EU countries. The European Union has also taken steps to support the Ukrainian transport sector through liberalized access to the European market.

The existing preferences are temporary measures. The accession negotiations will be aimed at developing rules according to which Ukraine's access to the common market is also accompanied by commitments on the Ukrainian side, among others, in the field of regulation and social standards, guaranteeing fair competition.