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One year as an EU candidate: Ukraine has completed 2 out of 7 steps toward membership

In a year, the country completed the requirement concerning the judicial system reform and aligned the media legislation with the European directive.

Photo: Francois Walschaerts / AFP

Ukraine was granted EU candidate status on June 23, 2022. Along with it, the EU Council identified seven steps that Ukraine must prioritize in its application for EU membership. As of June 2023, Ukraine has already completed two of these steps: “the reform of the judicial system with the establishment of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges, as well as the alignment of media legislation with the European directive”.

EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, also reported that Ukraine had made significant progress in reforming the Constitutional Court, specifically stating that “more than half of the necessary work has been completed”. Varhelyi highlighed positive changes in four more areas: combating corruption, fighting money laundering, deoligarchization, and the issue of national minorities.

Ukraine applied for EU membership on February 28, 2022, just four days after the beginning of Russia’s invasion. Five months later, the European Commission issued its opinion on the application for EU membership, before granting candidate status to Ukraine on 23 June 2022.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Ursula von der Leyen on May 9, on Europe Day, in Kyiv.
Photo: European Commission / Instagram

“Ukraine has clearly demonstrated its aspiration and determination to live by European values and standards,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in June 2022.

Read more: What happens if Ukraine joins the EU?

Ukraine is positively inclined toward fully implementing the remaining five steps on the path to EU membership. In particular, the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Olha Stefanishyna, emphasized the importance of this interim evaluation, clearly documenting the steps that still need to be taken to complete the implementation of all seven recommendations by October and move on to the adoption of decisions on initiating negotiations regarding EU membership. According to her forecasts, Ukraine will cope with the remaining EU tasks by autumn.

“We need to understand that the remaining five blocks of recommendations are not at the zero stage, tremendous work was done over the last year. In fact, the decisions are already prepared, some of them only need to be adopted technically… Obviously, we will manage to do everything possible by October,” added the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister.