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

Media attention to the subject of Ukraine’s European integration continued to increase in June. The number of mentions of related issues increased by 67% in the media and by 39% in social networks compared to May when an increase was also recorded. The growing media attention to the accession of Ukraine to the EU was primarily related to the European Commission’s verbal assessment of Ukraine’s implementation of the seven recommendations and further discussion of the possibility of starting negotiations on accession later this year. On 21-22 June, the Ukraine Recovery Conference was held in London. All those events were actively covered by the Ukrainian online media outlets.

Media about the accession of Ukraine to the European Union.

The first insights about the upcoming assessment of the European Commission started to be published in the media on 19 June. Therefore, the topic was discussed for several days. A significant number of publications focused on the fact that 2 of the 7 recommendations of the European Commission were fully implemented. Some media emphasized that “ONLY two recommendations” were implemented. Some level of disappointment was related to the overestimated expectations by top Ukrainian officials, who had repeatedly stated that Ukraine was fulfilling all the recommendations of the European Commission and was ready to start the negotiations process. Less often, the media drew attention to the fact that the EU recognized Ukraine’s progress in implementing recommendations.

Even before the official publication of the assessment by the European Commission, “Yevropeiska pravda” outlet published an article with an assessment overview. The journalist emphasized that the report of the European Commission was “generally positive”, any problems in the implementation of recommendations are not considered insurmountable by the European partners, and systemic problems occurred with the implementation of only one of the recommendations, the Constitutional Court reform.

The journalist of “Livyi Bereh” issued a more critical response to the assessment of the EC. She emphasized that “Ukraine’s ambitions to quickly gain membership in the EU could be put on hold”, and she called some positions of the European Commission “untenable” (namely, the conclusions of the Venice Commission regarding the law on national minorities).

In his review of the EC’s assessment, the journalist from “Radio Svoboda” outlet concluded that “as of now, it was almost obvious that Ukraine did not meet the two-year deadline set by the Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal earlier for the joining of the EU.” At the same time, “Ukraine still had time to implement all the recommendations of the European Commission by October.”

Considerable media attention was also paid to Ursula von der Leyen’s statement about the plan to create a new financial support mechanism for Ukraine in the amount of €50 billion in the form of grants and loans. Not all media outlets explained how the mechanism would work and in what directions the funds would be allocated. Therefore, some of them did not quite correctly write about the allocation of €50 billion to Ukraine.

On21-22 June, the Ukraine Recovery Conference was held in London. The statement by the German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock about the need to end “the 30 years of nepotism and corruption” in Ukraine in order to join the EU was the most quoted statement by the Ukrainian media during the conference. Some journalists described it as an “unpleasant call” and a signal of dissatisfaction with the actions of the Ukrainian authorities. Also, the statement of Kristianis Karinsh, the Prime Minister of Latvia, about the readiness to increase armed support of Ukraine was cited often. Some media outlets covered Petro Poroshenko’s participation in the conference (mainly outlets close to the fifth President).

Also, on 21-22 June, the Ukrainian media outlets actively followed the signing of the draft law on the import ban of books from the russian federation and Belarus in terms of a possible violation of EU norms. On June 21, journalists, citing the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, informed that the president will not sign the law, in particular, because it does not meet EU norms and standards in the field of human rights. However, the very next day the President signs the law, and its text is sent for “analysis by the EU institutions for additional assessment”.

On 23 June, media outlets drew attention to the tweet of Matti Maasikas, the head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, in which he emphasized the importance of renewing wealth declarations of the state officials by this fall.

During this period, Ukrainian journalists also cited statements of top Ukrainian officials regarding the European Commission’s assessment. Their reactions mostly consisted of assurances that the assessment was not negative, and that Ukraine was able to fulfill all recommendations by the end of 2023 or even by October. The acceleration of the implementation of European recommendations was one of the topics of discussion at the meeting of the National Security Council on 23 June.

Online media also actively covered Zelenskyi’s meeting with the presidents of Poland and Lithuania in Kyiv. Journalists mostly covered their discussions about the lifting of the ban on the import of Ukrainian agricultural products, military support for Ukraine and the NATO summit. Media also drew attention to the fact that the arrival of Duda was unannounced.

However, the most mentions of European integration occurred on 29 June, when several news breaks coincided: a discussion of security guarantees for Ukraine at the EU summit and a statement by Roberta Metsola, the head of the European Parliament. Some Ukrainian online media published news with headlines, “The European Parliament wants to start negotiations on Ukraine’s membership in the EU – timeline has been set”, and referred to the as a source. In fact, Metsola’s statement was a response to a Ukrainian journalist’s question about the possibility of joining the block. The manipulative headline focusing on December as a set term and dropping off the precondition of completed reforms was primarily offered by European media Politico and later shared by some of the Ukrainian media.

The Ukrainian media also followed the discussion of military support for Ukraine at the summit of the European Political Community in Chisinau on 1 June and negotiations with the representatives of the EU member states regarding the upcoming NATO summit.

Draft laws

In June, three draft laws, which concerns the approximation of the Ukrainian legislation to the EU acquis, were adopted in the second reading – No. 5322 on prevention of abuses in wholesale energy markets, No. 6134 on protection of consumers` rights, and No. 8290 on improvement of state control in food safety.

Draft law No. 5322 is aimed at implementation on Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and the Council concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and Regulation (EU) No 1227/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on wholesale energy market integrity and transparency.

Media outlets covered the adoption of the draft law in a neutral or positive way. In particular, the news was published under the headings “Rada prevented manipulation during the purchase and sale of electricity” or “Rada gave incentives to investors to complete green power plants.” Other media outlets focused attention on the expansion of the powers of the NCRECP as a result of the adoption of the law.

Draft law No. 6134 implements the regulation of the European Parliament and the Council No. 2017/2394 of 12.12.2017 and a number of directives of the European Parliament. Covering its adoption, the media mostly paid attention to innovations regarding the restricting of access to online stores that violate consumer rights protection legislation. Only a few media outlets noted the criticism of the draft law by the NAKC.

Draft Law No. 8290 on food safety implements 10 regulations of the European Parliament and the European Commission. They are aimed at food production regulation in accordance with EU norms. Ukrainian media covered the adoption of the law in a neutral or positive way. For example, they wrote that the law will simplify the work of animal producers or “stimulate the development of animal husbandry.” Other publications called the draft law as “Europeanisation” of the law on animal husbandry.


In June, experts published articles with general assessments of Ukraine’s accession to the EU. Articles on the approximation of Ukrainian legislation to the EU acquis in certain areas were also published.

The editor of “Yevropeis’ka Pravda” Serhii Sydorenko criticized the latest decisions of the Venice Commission. In particular, he called the conclusion regarding the law on national minorities “blatantly biased, manipulative” and even “shameful”. He accused the VC decision authors of ignoring the context of the russian war against Ukraine, and drew attention to the fact that for the first time the conclusions of the Ukrainian expert community and the Venice Commission had not coincided. He also called some positions of the law (in particular, the requirement not to duplicate signs in Ukrainian in regions where minority representatives make up the absolute majority) an “absolute nonsense.” According to the author, the decision by the Venice Commission could be used as a tool of disrupting Ukraine’s EU accession.

Representatives of the “Ukrainian Center for European Policy” reviewed the implementation of the Association Agreement in the context of future negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. They emphasized that “the Association Agreement remains the main instrument for sectoral integration of Ukraine with the European Union” until the negotiations on joining the EU begin. Therefore, Ukraine is interested to fulfill the positions of the Agreement as much as possible in order to prepare a better negotiating position.

Yuriy Panchenko, the editor of the “Yevropeiska pravda” outlet, assessed the possibility to extend restrictions on the export of agricultural products to EU countries after September 15, defining it as unlikely. According to him, the European Commission was no longer going to make concessions to the governments of the 5 countries and would demand from them strong evidence of the connection of losses with the actions of Ukrainian exporters in order to continue the restrictions. Eastern European countries are unlikely to be able to provide this evidence, the analyst believes.

Evgenia Grigorieva, an expert at the “Europe Without Barriers” analytical center, pointed out the need to develop a new plan for arranging Ukraine’s borders with the EU’s, and identified 10 areas that need to be revised. The consideration of business opinions, the review of project documentation and the coordination with all stakeholders involved in the borders control processes are among the revisions.

The topic of customs reform in the context of EU accession was also reviewed by Robert Zeldi, an expert on customs legislation. He identified the need to strengthen customs control at the northern and eastern borders after Ukraine’s accession to the EU, as they would become the borders of the EU, not just the borders of our country. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce strict border controls. Among other things, Ukraine will have to strengthen the security of the customs service and the ability to investigate customs fraud, as well as to adopt a strategy for the customs service development. outlet collected opinions of experts about the plan of reforming law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office, which had been signed by the president. They mostly criticized it for insufficient details. In particular, they called it a “roadmap”, “general vision” and even a “wish list”, rather than a complete plan with clearly defined problems, deadlines for solution and officials responsible for the implementation. The document was also criticized for the lack of mentions of military justice and lack of attention to the issue of the Prosecutor General’s independence. At the same time, EU representatives welcomed the adoption of the document and had no significant remarks on it.