EU news: Zelensky’s dream shattered over Ukraine’s economy ‘might not accept it’ | World | New
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has moved closer to his long-held dream of joining the European Union. On Friday, Ukraine was granted candidate status – the very first official step towards EU membership. But the path ahead is perilous with multiple steps to take and a series of rules to follow before joining the EU club. And given the collapse of the country’s economy under Vladimir Putin’s invasion, according to an EU expert, European countries could dash President Zelensky’s hope of joining the bloc.
Emmanuel Dupuy, president of the Institute for Foresight and Security in Europe (IPSE), told Express.co.uk: “Joining the European Union is not a matter of political will. It is a question of administrative and judicial capacity and the acceptance of a number of rules, which are not yet respected by Ukraine.
“Ukraine is and will be – when it enters the European Union now or in 10 years – the weakest of the European economies. And this is of course a huge burden both for Ukraine and for the countries of the ‘European Union, which might very well not accept that.’
According to the World Bank, Ukraine’s economy could contract by around 45.1% this year. “The Russian invasion is a severe blow to the Ukrainian economy and has inflicted enormous damage to infrastructure,” warned the World Bank’s Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia region, who stressed that the impact Actual warfare will vary depending on the duration and intensity of the war. And the war shows no signs of letting up.
Although some European leaders have pledged to help rebuild Ukraine, the bill could reach $600 billion, President Zelensky said at the Wall Street Journal’s Council of CEOs summit in London.
“There is the political will of the leaders,” Dupuy said, noting that even Putin’s longtime ally Viktor Orban has voiced support for Ukraine’s bid.
“He spoke with Volodymyr Zelensky giving the impression that he would in no way veto the possible inclusion of an accelerated candidacy from Ukraine.”
Today, President Zelensky faces the daunting task of incorporating tens of thousands of EU rules into Ukrainian law. The Atlantic Council found a total of 80,000 pages of rules governing court systems and commerce.
“There are 300 pages of legal standards and a number of very difficult subjects to tackle such as the rule of law, the fight against corruption, equality between men and women and the fight against forced labor,” Mr. Dupuy explained.
All of these rules are part of the acquis communautaire, the body of European Union law, which comprises 31 chapters ranging from the free movement of goods to competition policy.
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The task at hand takes time. Other candidate countries like Serbia, Albania and Montenegro officially applied for EU membership about ten years ago.
“And it is not ready for the acquis communautaire,” Dupuy said, citing the fight against corruption among many reforms Ukraine needs to undertake to open accession negotiations.
A viral clip of then-actor Mr Zelensky discussing Ukraine’s membership with a fictional former German chancellor, Angela Merkel, could be a cautionary tale. In the clip from the satirical show ‘Servant of the People’, the former actor jumps up and down when Mrs Merkel congratulates him on Ukraine’s EU membership. But the ecstatic scenes are cut short when Ms Merkel realizes she has called the wrong country.
While Ukraine is at war with Russia, the country cannot join the European Union.
“Another question is whether Ukraine can fulfill its commitment to the EU bid while waging war – or defending its territory,” Dupuy said.
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