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‘Europeanization’ of third countries legal orders – implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

During the international scientific conference ‘Europeanization’ of third countries legal orders – implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which was held in the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, with the support of the Association4U, participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Ukrainian and international experts, both researchers and practitioners on legal perspectives and challenges arising within the scope of the implementation process of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and on how to address these challenges.

Among the participants were representatives from the Government, the Parliament, President’s Administration, civil society leaders, experts and academics.

The conference spotlighted on institutional and legal aspects of the implementation process of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (hereinafter – Agreement), latest issues of harmonization of Ukrainian laws up to EU norms and the main challenges in this regard and ways of addressing them.

The honor to open the conference had Hugues Mingarelli, Ambassador and Head of EU Office in Ukraine. In his opening remarks, he stated that the Agreement is a powerful ground for further development of strong Ukraine-EU cooperation. In his words, the process will be hard with many obstacles and it could take up to 7 years to finish it. Besides this, he expressed optimism on perspectives of its implementation. Mr. Mingarelli recommended drawing up some lessons from West Balkans, Moldova and Georgia in order to exchange practices. What is more, Mr. Ambassador indicated that inclusivity is the key to a more efficient implementation process of the Agreement with the society keeping the Government and the Parliament accountable.

Ukrainian lawmakers and government officials claimed that the Agreement implementation is a complex process, which requires increase in institutional capacity and monitoring aspects and also promoting expert cooperation, particularly with the civil sector.

In addition, the participants raised up the issue of European values laid down in the Agreement. “Values are in our heads, and our behavior needs to be shaped by the EU values” – Myhailo Mikievuch, professor of Lviv National Ivan Franko University stated.

Roman Petrov, professor from National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” specified on the Agreement’s features, which make it unique among other agreements from the EU:

-         Complexity (the legal basis for it is not only the Association Agreement, but close cooperation in the spheres of defense and foreign trade);

-         All-Encompassing Character of the Agreement;

-         Conditionality (the implementation of the Agreement has a profound effect on gradual discovering od new markets).

On the other hand, Steven Blockmans, head of the European Foreign Policy Unit compared the Association Agreement and euro integration processes in Serbia and Ukraine. Balkan countries, like Serbia, have quite clear EU membership perspective, which Ukraine does not have. However, if you compare the content of agreements between the EU and Balkan countries from the one side and EU-Ukraine from the other, one can conclude that the Ukrainian AA is deeper and more comprehensive, which sends quite clear political signal as far as the “weight” of EU-Ukrainian relations, is concerned.

Professor Adam Lazovski, EU law Professor from Law School of Westminster University in London gave a quick highlight of Croatian and Albanian experience of eurointegration. He said, that Croatia had become the first state to settle its territorial disputes in order to become a member of the EU. He went on also stating that the country managed to solve all of its political, economic, social, psychological and technical problems attain membership in 2013 and stressed the  importance of institutional memory which was many times lost in Albania due to political changes but all the time kept in Croatia.

 

 

Junior Communication Fellow