Ukraine is ‘gold commonplace’ for EU accession course of: Ukrainian deputy PM | EUROtoday

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As European leaders tussle over key choices on Ukraine forward of a vital EU summit on December 14-15, Talking Europe hosts Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Olha Stefanishyna. She tells FRANCE 24 that it’s “very important” {that a} resolution to start out Ukraine’s EU membership talks be taken, as a result of Ukraine is a “gold standard” in relation to the reforms that candidate nations have to make. She additionally acknowledges that it is a “turbulent period” in European politics, which doesn’t all the time work in Ukraine’s favour. We contact on the present state of EU monetary help for Ukraine, in addition to the shortfall in ammunition deliveries that the EU had pledged.

Asked about Kyiv’s EU membership course of, Stefanishyna says: “Ukraine has been a golden standard of the merit-based approach. No country in the whole world will be able to form the anti-corruption system of bodies and relaunch the judicial reform within a year, and to start the Constitutional Court reform. Ukraine brought back the agenda of the whole enlargement. It is clear that enlarged, strengthened and reformed Europe is the strong Europe. The decision on December 15 [at the EU summit] is not the mandate for the negotiations. It is just the decision to start the accession talks. And it should be taken to preserve the attachment to the European project, and also to give a signal to Western Balkan countries.”

Continuing on the theme of Ukraine’s pro-European reforms, Stefanishyna provides: “Completing the seven steps [required by the EU Commission] doesn’t mean completing the reforms. The reforms should be continuous. We should show permanently the sustainability of this transformation and the results of it. Setting up the anti-corruption infrastructure is one thing, but making it work is a different thing.”

Stefanishyna admits that there are political developments within the EU which are troublesome for Ukraine, such because the latest victory of the Freedom Party within the Dutch elections. Its chief, Geert Wilders, opposes additional EU enlargement. “It is definitely a turbulent period, especially considering the EU elections taking place in half a year. It is troubling,” she says.

On the problem of rising Poland-Ukraine tensions – with 1000’s of Ukrainian truckers caught in Poland in November – she states: “The European Commission has the unified competence in trade issues. It has a trade commissioner, and a transport commissioner. These are people fully mandated to work on this situation. I think that their efforts could be really strengthened.  And they really have to handle this situation. It is obvious that our position in terms of trade is not the same as it used to be. Before the 24 of February [2022]Ukraine had full access to the Black Sea, the Azov Sea. We had a flight connection. Now there’s nothing.”

Stefanishyna acknowledges that the shortfall in EU-procured ammunition deliveries has been a “reality check”. She says: “One million shells. This was the ambition. This was the joint target and the reality is 300,000 shell shells provided and produced. So it’s a process which identified the weaknesses, and basically gives us the understanding that we have a lot of things to do at the European level.”

She is, nonetheless, upbeat about bilateral navy cooperation between Ukraine and France. “France has chosen a path of leading by its example,” Stefanishyna affirms. “And it’s been one of the first countries who has prepared the multi-annual budget of military support for Ukraine, giving the clarity and predictability for its domestic industries and companies, but also basically giving the unilateral security guarantee for the sustainability of support.”

Programme produced by Sophie Samaille, Perrine Desplats and Isabelle Romero

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