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Accession of Ukraine to the European Union: July 2023 media monitoring

Compared to the eventful May and June, July marked a noticeable decrease of interest to the subject of Ukraine’s accession to the EU. The number of mentions of this topic fell by 28% among the leading online media and by 34% in social networks. The NATO summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July was mentioned the most. Even though the event was not directly related to the EU-Ukraine association, the topic of Ukraine’s accession to the EU was discussed at the summit.

Media about the accession of Ukraine to the European Union

The first publications about the possible results of the NATO summit for Ukraine were published on 10 July, and the Ukrainian media discussed the event during the next several days. The vast majority of mentions of the summit were posted on 12 July, the summit’s closing day. In particular, journalists often wrote about the meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Charles Michel, the President of the European Council,  within the summit’s framework. The media noted that the presidents discussed the issue of sanctions against russia. Citing the Telegram channel of the President of Ukraine, they wrote about the possibility of “opening negotiations on Ukraine’s membership in the European Union already at the end of this year” at the meeting. Somewhat less often, journalists wrote about the readiness of the EU to become a “key partner in providing guarantees to Ukraine from the G7”, quoting the Twitter page of the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

On 12 July, Ukrainian journalists often quoted an insider from Politico about the draft plan to provide Ukraine with “security commitments.” Several Ukrainian media published relevant news under the loud headline “The EU is preparing to defend Ukraine for a long time.”

The visit of Pedro Sanchez, the Prime Minister of Spain, to Kyiv on 1 July attracted a lot of attention from Ukrainian journalists. They mostly wrote about his support of the creation of the Ukraine-NATO Council and Ukraine’s candidacy for joining the EU. Journalists also emphasised the fact that the visit took place on the first day of Spain’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. They also noted the allocation of additional financial aid and military equipment to Ukraine as a result of the agreements reached during the visit.

The visit of Ukraine’s President to the Czech Republic on 7 July was another widely publicised international event In particular, the Ukrainian media often quoted the statement of Petr Pavel, the President of the Czech Republic, about the desire to start negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU by the end of this year.

Ukrainian media also actively covered the prolongation of the canceling of mobile communications roaming charges for Ukrainians in the EU on 10 July. Journalists noted the participation of the European Commission in the agreement between the operators. Some even wrote that “the European Commission extended the effect of simplified roaming for a year”, which was incorrect since the EC only facilitated the agreement.

Draft laws

In July, the Verkhovna Rada adopted two draft laws related to the obligations and recommendations within Ukraine`s accession to the European Union in the second reading.

Thus, the Verkhovna Rada amended the law on asset e-declarations under martial law (No. 9534). The innovation will renew the obligation to submit electronic income declarations for politicians and officials. Earlier, the representatives of the European Union (in particular, Matti Maasikas, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine) urged the Ukrainian government to restore the submission of asset declarations, which was canceled with the introduction of martial law. There were no similar restrictions in the declaration rules that were in effect before the introduction of martial law. Only a few Ukrainian media emphasised the “pitfalls” of the law.

Draft Law No. 9322 clarifies the rules for the competitive selection of candidates for the post of constitutional court judge. The innovation implemented one of the recommendations of the European Commission for the opening of negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Earlier, the provision on the commission members turned into the most prominent “stumbling block” for the Ukrainian authorities. They did not want to let independent international observers have the majority of voices in the commission. Draft law No. 9322 proposed a compromise solution that does not fulfill the main recommendation of the Venice Commission about the fourth international member of the commission. However, it gave them the right of a decisive vote.

The Venice Commission regretted that its recommendation to add a seventh member to the Advisory Group of Experts had not been implemented but welcomed “significant improvements” in the selection rules. Ukrainian public sector organisations had a similar assessment of the novation. The media mostly covered the adoption of the law neutrally. Some of them, however, assessed it positively. For example, some of them concluded in the news headline that Ukraine “fulfilled the recommendation for membership in the EU,” which was not entirely correct.


Summarising her experience participating in foreign diplomatic advocacy events, Alyona Hetmanchuk, the director of the New Europe Center, analyzed the perception of Ukraine’s accession to the EU in the most influential countries of the Union. She claimed that she felt the most significant support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU in Italy. She noted the importance of persuading the countries of Central Europe to agree on the reform of the European Union to speed up Ukraine’s accession to the EU. The author also emphasised that statements by Ukrainian officials about EU membership in 2 years are considered inappropriate and counterproductive in the capitals of the EU.

The lawyers of Sayenko Kharenko company called to start the work on the “red lines” from the business side for accession negotiations as soon as possible. The authors emphasised that Ukrainian businesses may suffer after joining the EU due to the replacement of export and import duties and new regulations. In particular, according to lawyers, companies have the right to demand softer conditions during the so-called “transitional periods” after Ukraine joins the EU such as temporary preservation of import quotas, time for gradual adaptation of agricultural enterprises, etc.

Maria Repko, an expert at the Center for Economic Strategy, described the structure and conditions of the 50 billion euro facility for Ukraine suggested by the European Commission. She emphasised the importance of a realistic plan to use the funds. And she also called the current program “the last car of the train” for the accession of Ukraine to the EU.

Marichka Hrynyshyn, the lawyer of the non-governmental organisation “Zhyttia”, analysed to what extent the ban on the sale of tobacco with flavoring additives and hand-rolled cigarettes, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, complies with the EU “Tobacco” Directive 2014/40. According to her assessment, the changes do not ensure the full implementation of the Directive since the new bans apply only during martial law, and the manufacturers of such products have learned how to avoid the restrictions that existed before.

The non-governmental organisation “Ekodiya” summarised the conference results on restoring Ukraine in London. The organisation concluded that to attract funds for reconstruction effectively, the Ukrainian government should soon adopt legislation on zero emissions in construction, ensure a sustainable procurement policy, and guarantee public involvement in the reconstruction process. It is necessary to ensure the inclusiveness of the recovery process before the next recovery conference in 2024 in Berlin, in particular, to include the opinions of vulnerable communities, the article’s author emphasises.