Ukraine's parliament enacts reform laws recommended by EU - Speaker

The road to membership is widely expected to be long, possibly lasting a decade. EU leaders said that Ukraine would have much 'homework' to do.

 Flags of European Union and Ukraine flutter outside EU Parliament building, in Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)
Flags of European Union and Ukraine flutter outside EU Parliament building, in Brussels, Belgium, February 28, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

Ukraine's parliament has passed all the legislation sought by the European Union before Kyiv starts talks on joining the 27-member bloc, the assembly's speaker said on Wednesday.

The European Commission, the EU executive, granted Ukraine the status of candidate member in June, despite Russia's invasion, on the understanding that Kyiv takes a series of recommended legislative and policy steps.

These included enacting legislation on a selection process for Constitutional Court judges, strengthening the fight against corruption, harmonizing media regulation with EU standards and protecting national minorities.

"We can say with confidence that the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has completed its part of the work and adopted all the necessary systemic bills to implement the recommendations of the European Commission," Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said in a statement.

The road to membership

The European Commission has said it will monitor Ukraine's progress on carrying out the recommended steps and report on them by the end of 2022.

 Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mathias Cormann, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz walk on the day of a conference on post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. (credit: REUTERS/MICHELE TANTUSSI) Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mathias Cormann, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz walk on the day of a conference on post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. (credit: REUTERS/MICHELE TANTUSSI)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Kyiv in September that she was impressed with the speed at which Ukraine was proceeding in its attempt to become a member state.

But the road to membership is widely expected to be long, possibly lasting a decade. EU leaders said in June that Ukraine and Moldova, which was granted candidate status the same day, would have much "homework" to do.

Fighting Russia and corruption

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week hailed the dissolution of a Kyiv court widely seen as corrupt as evidence that Ukraine can simultaneously fight corruption and Russia's invasion.

But some experts in Ukraine said the legislation approved by parliament was only a starting point. Some of the laws would need revising and additional legislation will be required, they said.

"Kyiv really is demonstrating progress in satisfying all of the European Commission's recommendations. But none of them has been fully implemented," three experts from the Reanimation Package of Reforms, which groups non-governmental organizations and experts on reform, wrote in an article for online outlet Ukrayinska Pravda.

"Kyiv really is demonstrating progress in satisfying all of the European Commission's recommendations. But none of them has been fully implemented."

Experts from the Reanimation Package of Reforms

A recommendation to appoint several top anti-corruption officials remained unfulfilled, they said.