Ukrainian and EU flags fly above Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kyiv, Ukraine, during the Euromaidan revolution. Photo from EPA/ Zurab Kurtsikidze
Is Ukraine on track for the EU? Of course, there are multiple indicators that measure EU’s Eastern Partners’ progress towards one day joining the European Union of free trade and labor and, since these indicators are usually complex, one may resort to just one: the amount of laws the national parliament has passed in order to harmonize the Ukrainian laws with the EU ones.
From Romanian experience, there were over 8,000 pages of laws and annexes that needed to be passed and this was no easy feat, especially given the poor quality of the elected parliament, as expressed monitoring by media and NGOs.
However, due to specific complexities, Ukraine may have to pass around 12,000 pages of laws, to address some issues that Romania didn’t have. So, while there is consistent parliamentary progress towards reforms, it may still be too little, too slow for a hypothetical EU admission by 2025.
Yes, the intentions are good, but more doing, more acting-upon is required, in order to align Ukraine with the EU legislation. Without this, there is and there will never be any EU accession, just partnership and, while the Eastern Partnership is a good thing, it also means that Ukraine has not gone the full length of the deal.
Also, given the difficult situation in Ukraine, passing some of the laws could partly ease the hardships currently endured by the brave people of Ukraine, especially since these are and will be the most difficult five years in Ukraine’s recent history, because this adjusting of state power to better accommodate the European will of the people is so radical in Soviet-torn states that even people are not fully aware of their responsibilities.
To be more specific, people tend to put more pressure on the government or on the president, whereas they should mainly press the parliament. Because the EU convergence laws are passed by the lawVerkhovna Rada and no prime minister, no matter how competent, could pass 12,000 pages of laws by ordinance. People need to understand that and to monitor this judicial progress, making sure at least 1,200 pages of laws are updated to EU standards, yearly, before anyone can even start to blame the West.
Without adopting European-grade laws, there is nothing the EU can do to help Ukraine, because no European commitment of the Ukrainian parliament will unavoidably lead to no financial commitment from Brussels.
So, if this generation really wants to be the one that frees Ukraine from its Soviet slavery and brings it home, among the bright states of the European Union, it should do its homework and press the parliament, measuring their progress on legal harmonization with the European Union: 12,000 pages in 10 years. It’s doable, but serious work and monitoring need to be put into it.
Obviously, the same goes for Moldova and Georgia. They can be freed as well, but they must monitor their parliaments, too.
Will Moldova do it? Will Georgia do it? Will Ukraine do it?