Therefore, Ukraine is unlikely to become an EU member now: - An extremely chess-ridden country

Ukraine dreams of quick EU entry. Here are five reasons why it won't happen right away.

The tone was good when EU leader Ursula von der Leyen met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj at the beginning of April.

- It will not take several years, as usual, to make up one's mind, but be a matter of weeks, I want to believe, she said about potential EU membership.

But since then, several EU countries have expressed skepticism about giving Ukraine a shortcut in.

It's not just, just to become a member instead, points out experts on the EU and Ukraine that NRK has spoken to.

Must adapt to criterion
- Firstly, Ukraine must satisfy a set of criteria, says Jarle Trondal, EU expert and professor of political science at the universities of Oslo and Agder.

- Then the country must make adjustments. A full-fledged democracy, rule of law and a free market must be in place, and the administrative and financial system must work, he continued.

There is a long way to go before the country has all this in place, according to Ukraine expert and researcher Jørn Holm-Hansen at Oslo Met.

- It is an extremely chess-ridden country, he says about how the status was already before the war.

Here are five reasons why Ukraine is unlikely to be allowed into the EU any time soon:

1. Widespread corruption

The situation is worse in Ukraine than in the most corrupt countries in the EU, even though President Zelenskyj went to the polls on the fight against corruption, according to Holm-Hansen.

- There is also talk of nepotism, that one gives benefits to those one knows. Break with it, is often seen as unreliable and a kind of traitor, says the researcher.

The country is down on 32 of 100 points on the corruption index of Transparency International. By comparison, Norway has 85 point, Hungary has 43 and Poland has 56 per. 9. June.

2. Unfinished rule of law and democracy

Ukraine has a problem with both the rule of law, state administration and democracy.

- They have a bigger problem than Poland and Hungary, says Holm-Hansen.

The country does poorly on the democracy index of The Economist Intelligence, and the way the state works is particularly bad.

The freedom of the press is not quite at its best either, according to the index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

- One must be completely sure that the civil service can function independently of pressure from interest groups in society who want decisions in their favor, says Trondal.

3. Rikingar controls the economy and politics

Ukraine has capitalism, but no well-functioning market economy, as the EU requires.

– The oligarch, dei store capital owners, has great economic and political control, says Holm-Hansen.

He points out that the conditions of competition will therefore not be the same for everyone.

- There is reason to ask whether it is the elected representatives or the oligarchs who decide in Ukraine in peacetime.

4. Poverty, war and nationalism

Ukraine is a poor country with around 43 millions of inhabitants. There are low wages and a low standard of living.

- The average salary is less than half of what they get in the poorest country in the EU, Bulgaria, says Holm-Hansen, and points to

Due to the war with Russia, almost one in three inhabitants may end up below the poverty line, according to the UN.

- The EU and Norway will certainly spend huge sums to help Ukraine recover and stand again after the war, but the question is whether this should be included in the community as a permanent problem, Holm-Hansen.

The unstable situation the country has had with Russia since then 2014, and the war no, nor is it a desirable situation to obtain within the EU's outer borders.

- I would say it is a political impossibility. The country should be well established and safe before registering it in an organisation, otherwise the organization gets this problem, says EU expert Jarle Trondal.

Furthermore, he is skeptical about whether Ukraine is completely in line with the EU's cultivation of diversity, tolerance and community between different ethnic groups.

5. Unfair to give a shortcut

Although the EU initially signaled that the process could be shortened, Germany, among other things, believes that a shortcut for Ukraine is unfair to countries in the Western Balkans.

They have been preparing for several years to become worthy members.

France thinks it can take the least 15 year to process the application for membership, according to NTB.

All EU countries must agree to allow new member states, and whether there will be a shortcut or not.

- Ukraine can achieve candidate status, but probably have to go through long processes where one goes point by point in order to satisfy the criteria for membership, says Trondal.

Possible solutions

- Either Ukraine must tighten up considerably, or the EU must become a looser association than today, and give up what has been the main driving force: closer integration, says Holm-Hansen.

Should one be optimistic, points out the Ukraine expert that the invasion may lead to rapid deterioration.

- The chaos that reigns there now and the unity that the invasion has brought about, can contribute to Ukraine making some progress in the future and can solve some of the deep structural and ideological challenges they have been struggling with, says the researcher.

One alternative is if the EU favors a "lighter" type of membership, as proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron in May: A European political community where democratic countries can "cooperate on politics, security, energy, transport, infrastructure and migration", according to Euronews.

In that case, it requires extensive changes to the EU system, which must be accepted by all member states.


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