Skip to Content

Mafia tactics: Transporting victims in a car boot. Photo credit: Artem Budaiev
Brussels/Kiev

EU accession status for Ukraine – Brussels to tackle the impossible

The decision to grant Ukraine accession status raises numerous questions: Ukraine (and Moldova) were officially granted this status at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday evening. This decision had been extremely controversial and contested for weeks. But all previous critics – above all Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, the Netherlands and France – have surprisingly caved in and have cleared the way for the two countries to join the EU.

Published: June 27, 2022, 11:14 am

    Read more

    In the case of Ukraine, more than the current war scenario, a number of massive deficits stand in the way of actual accession. Not long ago they were also cited by Brussels as arguments as to why Ukraine could never become a member of the EU any time soon.

    Despite years of support from the EU worth billions, it has still not been possible to take effective action against corruption in the country, which is the order of the day there on both a small and large scale. In the latest corruption index by Transparency International, Ukraine ranks 122nd out of 180.

    The European Court of Auditors also came to the conclusion in a special report last year that there were only “insufficient results” in the fight against “major corruption” –  implying that the matter was not about small bribes, but corruption as “abuse of power at a high level by which a few persons obtain an advantage at the expense of the general public, thereby causing serious and far-reaching harm to individuals and to society”.

    According to the report, there is a network of oligarchs in Ukraine who use their money to exert significant influence over public opinion, the government, the judiciary and the economy. The conclusion of the EU Court of Auditors was damning: “Dozens of billions of euros are lost every year as a result of corruption.”

    Surprisingly, Brussels knows this very well: “The EU has long been aware of the connections between oligarchs, high-ranking officials, politicians, the judiciary and state-owned companies.”

    “In practice, the elite as well as the population are taught that corruption is only selectively combated at best and that people close to the president are exempt from criminal prosecution,” the German research  foundation Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) also stated in a 2021 report.

    There are massive problems regarding the rule of law in Ukraine. According to the European Commission, “stable institutions that guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities” are one of the basic requirements for EU accession. According to various experts, the country is far from achieving that.

    In the Democracy Index 2021 of the magazine The Economist, Ukraine ranks 86th out of 167. Especially when it comes to questions of the functioning of the government and civil rights, the state of the country is appalling. “The promise (…) to ensure the rule of law has (…) remained largely unfulfilled,” the Federal Agency for Civic Education [Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung] concluded in 2020.

    Just a few weeks ago, President Zelensky issued a decree that banned activities from all eleven opposition parties, hardly a democratic move.

    Above all, however, the way minorities are treated makes a mockery of all EU standards. Years of harassment of the large Russian-speaking population is the main reason for the Russian military intervention in February 2022. Only recently did the Ukrainian parliament ban Russian music in public across the board. The mayor of the Russian-speaking city of Odessa, Gennady Trukhanov, who is said to have close ties to the mafia, recently ordered Russian to be banned as a school subject from August 1 and Russian-language literature to be removed from the city’s libraries.

    Not least in the economic area, Ukraine fails to meet all EU standards. These prescribe a “functioning market economy and the ability to withstand competition and market forces in the EU”. But there can be no question of that in Ukraine, which has little to do with the current war.

    Although the socialist planned economy was gradually converted into a capitalist private economy from 1991, many of the approximately 15 000 companies run by the state or the municipalities still dominate a number of economic sectors. With more than 350 000 employees, the state railway, which is considered ailing, is the largest employer in the country.

    Until the outbreak of war in February 2022, many economic indicators were pointing upwards. Nevertheless, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2021 was only around 4 500 euros and thus still far below the EU taillight Bulgaria (9 850 euros).

    “Mismanagement, outdated structures, corruption and years of dependence on Russia have repeatedly slowed down the competitiveness of the Ukrainian economy,” the German public broadcaster ARD Tagesschau summarized the dire situation at the beginning of 2022. Foreign investors assessed the country as being a high risk.

    According to the Cologne Institute of the German Economy (IW), significant economic transformations are necessary. From this follows: “In view of the weak economic performance and the corruption problem, the current fulfillment of the EU accession criteria would pose great difficulties for Ukraine (…).”

    Restructuring these three areas in such a way that nothing would stand in the way of EU membership would require an immense effort by Ukraine: a radical restructuring of large parts of the state system, the judiciary and the economy. Especially now, with the current hostilities, after around 7,8 billion euros in EU funds have flowed to Kiev over the last eight years alone, remains a mystery that only the Brussels eurocrats are able to explain.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Berlin: 2777 knife attacks in one year

    BerlinThroughout Germany, knife crime has increased dramatically in recent years. Whether in the pedestrian zone or on the ICE, at fairs or in department stores – the uncertainty has grown dramatically because aggressive stabbers can now be expected anywhere. An open secret is that the perpetrators disproportionately often come from migrant milieus.

    Qatar gas contract signals more problems for Germany

    BerlinA month-long tragedy has finally found its happy ending – albeit rather symbolically. After Federal Economics Minister Habeck (Greens) was rebuffed in Qatar in the spring when he was looking for a replacement for the boycotted Russian gas, reports of an agreement are now making the rounds.

    Whites a minority in Britain’s largest cities

    LondonWhite Britons no longer form a majority in the two largest English cities for the first time in history.

    Parallel society: Ukrainian children in German schools

    MunichAround one million Ukrainians have left their homeland due to the war in recent months and sought refuge in Germany. Among the refugees are tens of thousands of children who are now going to school in Germany. But there are simply too many and the problems are mounting.

    Zelensky entrusts management of private investments in Ukraine to BlackRock

    KievThe Ukrainian government is teaming up with American investment firm BlackRock to "reboot its economy". A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on November 10, the Ukrainian Economy Ministry announced the next day. This agreement concerns the creation of a platform to attract private capital.

    Climate fanatics target airports

    BerlinThe climate fanatics of the Last Generation are no longer an annoying nuisance but have become a danger to life and limb due to the benevolent approval of Germany's spy chief Thomas Haldenwang. Their actions are increasingly radical, on the verge of terrorism aimed at airports and concert halls.

    Moroccans trash Belgian cities after WC victory

    BrusselsVictory turned into a riot on Sunday 27 November, as violence broke out in Brussels after the victory of the Moroccan team against Belgium in the football World Cup. The Atlas Lions won by two goals to nil and thus triumphed over the Belgian team.

    ‘Migrants only ever lose their passports, never their knives’

    TraiskirchenAgainst the background of the continuing mass influx of asylum seekers, the Austrian FPÖ presents itself again with a winning campaign to deal with the crisis. At a press conference on Wednesday, three leading FPÖ politicians gave more details – in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria, of all places, which is the seat of a large first reception center and has been a "hot spot" for the mass influx for months.

    Twitter’s Brussels office dismantled

    BrusselsThe move by Elon Musk to rid the online platform of "woke" ideologues, has sparked EU concern over online content control. With Twitter dismantling its entire Brussels office, some EU officials claim the platform will no longer comply with their new rules on controlling online content.

    In 4 years, 343 terror convicts have been released in France

    ParisPrisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences are monitored by the judiciary and intelligence services upon their release. This has been a huge cost to French taxpayers.

    Go to archive