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Melinda Fremerey IW-Report No. 32 7. June 2022 Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership?

The European Commission is currently evaluating Ukraine's application for an EU-membership. A fast-track procedure for Ukraine's admission to the EU is discussed recently.

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Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership?
Melinda Fremerey IW-Report No. 32 7. June 2022

Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership?

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

The European Commission is currently evaluating Ukraine's application for an EU-membership. A fast-track procedure for Ukraine's admission to the EU is discussed recently.

The last EU enlargements regarding Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and Croatia in 2013 were critically assessed and ended in a still ongoing control procedure for Romania and Bulgaria. Irrespectively of the current political motives for Ukraine's admission to the EU, Ukraine's application to join the EU is taken as an opportunity to analyse Ukraine's economic development in comparison to the last three EU member states. Therefore, a descriptive analysis of selected economic indicators of Ukraine is provided and compared with the development of the last three EU member states.

Ukraine's gross domestic product shows a large gap compared to the last three accession countries. However, the development of the country's IT sector is striking, as is the large share of the labor force and the high level of education among 30-34 year-olds. In the areas of unemployment, gross value added of the industry and foreign trade, Ukraine was on par with or even better off than the last three EU accession countries in the early 2000s. However, following the annexation of Crimea and the proclamation of the "people's republics" in eastern Ukraine in 2014, many indicators deteriorated considerably from 2015 onwards. The major problem of corruption in Ukraine could be another reason for Ukraine’s less positive development compared with the other South and Eastern European countries. In a corruption ranking, Ukraine is lags far behind other European member states. Thus, there is a considerable pent-up demand in the area of fighting corruption for Ukraine.
The heads of the states and governments of the EU member states hold very different opinions overall on the EU enlargement and on Ukraine's immediate admission to the EU. The strict accession criteria pose a challenge not only to the other candidates for EU membership but also, as shown in the case of Bulgaria and Romania, to existing EU member states. Therefore, very close economic and political cooperation between the EU and Ukraine at all levels may currently be more profitable than Ukraine's immediate admission to the EU.

Download PDF
Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership?
Melinda Fremerey IW-Report No. 32 7. June 2022

Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership?

German Economic Institute (IW) German Economic Institute (IW)

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