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Accession of Ukraine to the European Union: media monitoring for January 2024

In contrast to the eventful November and December, there was a noticeable drop in media attention on the topic of EU accession in January 2024. Journalists primarily focused on the discussion of Ukraine’s European integration at the Davos forum and followed events and insider reports regarding the upcoming official stages of EU accession.

Media coverage of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union

One of the most notable foreign policy events for Ukraine in January was the World Economic Forum in Davos from January (15–19 January). Journalists highlighted the observation that the focus on the conflict between Israel and Palestine at Davos was diverting attention away from Ukraine. As a result, diplomats had to exert special efforts to redirect attention towards Ukraine.

The meeting held on January 14th, on the eve of the forum, regarding the Ukrainian peace formula, garnered considerable interest from journalists. During this meeting, EU representatives reaffirmed their support for the principles outlined in Ukraine’s peace plan. They also discussed further macro-financial assistance for Ukraine and the preparation of the negotiation process for EU accession.

The Center for Countering Disinformation, a Ukrainian government think tank, published an article aimed at rebutting Bloomberg’s assessment, which characterized the meeting as concluding “without a clear plan for how to move forward.”

Journalists also covered the meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the President of Ukraine, and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, on January 16th during the forum. Specifically, they focused on discussions surrounding the unblocking of financial aid for Ukraine and the beginning of the screening process of Ukrainian legislation as part of the EU accession process.

Ukrainian media also closely monitored other news related to the start of legislation screening – analyzing the adaptation of Ukrainian normative legal acts to comply with EU law. They reported on the first meeting held in Brussels on January 25th regarding the screening process. During this meeting, a schedule of meetings between EU representatives and Ukrainian officials was established. Additionally, the media frequently quoted statements made by Ruslan Stefanchuk, who somewhat manipulatively suggested that the “implementation of the negotiation framework will mark the finish line on the path to the EU.” Some media also published articles explaining the concept of screening Ukrainian legislation by the European Union.

Ukrainian journalists also often quoted the inside of Rikard Jozvyak (RFE/RL) that the European Commission expects to publish an assessment of the progress of Ukraine’s reforms on February 27.

Donald Tusk’s visit to Ukraine on January 20 also garnered significant media interest. Most notably, attention was focused on the importance of this meeting for resolving the trade crisis between Ukraine and Poland. Journalists also highlighted the European integration aspect of the negotiations, particularly citing the promise by the Polish Prime Minister “to assist in all aspects of the accession process, ensuring Ukraine’s full membership in the EU at the earliest possible opportunity.” Additionally, they covered Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s proposal to establish a Ukrainian-Polish advisory group that “will aid Ukraine on its path to integration into the EU.”

The statement made by Jan-Christophe Etienne, the Vice President of the European Parliament, to German journalists regarding the impossibility of Ukraine’s accession to the EU without prior implementing reforms and addressing corruption was extensively quoted by Ukrainian media. Many Ukrainian media outlets somewhat radicalized the statement of the EU official, publishing headlines such as “The European Parliament Opposes Ukraine’s Rapid Accession to the EU.”

Draft laws

During January 2024, not a single draft law marked as “European integration” was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in the second reading.

However, an important draft law on transparent lobbying (No. 10337) was adopted in the first reading. The adoption of this law is a step towards implementing the final recommendations of the European Council to commence negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. It is worth noting that the initial version of the draft law was released to the public in November and faced substantial criticism from experts. Government officials stated that amendments were made to the draft law in December to incorporate public feedback. Subsequently, the revised draft law was submitted to parliament for further consideration.

However, at the end of January, prominent public organizations issued another collective letter in which they asserted that the current version of the draft law “undermines democracy and freedom of speech.” They refuted the claims made by government representatives that the new draft law incorporates public feedback. Instead, they emphasized that “the primary proposals put forth by representatives of public organizations, that were part of the working group responsible for preparing the draft law for the second reading, were disregarded.” In particular, the experts called to involve a larger number of stakeholders in the discussion of the draft law (in particular, EU experts in the field of lobbying) and to include in the text an amendment stating that “the effect of the law on lobbying does not extend to the exercise and protection by citizens of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, and on the activities of non-profit organizations”. We will follow this issue and will make a more detailed analysis of the law after its adoption in the second reading. 


In his article, Dmytro Lyvch, the executive director of the NGO EasyBusiness, conducted an analysis of the logic and historical development of the negotiating framework for EU accession. Based on this analysis, he identified key considerations that Ukraine needs to take into account. Specifically, he pointed out that due to Ukraine’s status as one of the largest states in Europe, the approach towards its accession will inherently be more cautious compared to that of other candidates. The analyst also highlighted that the negotiating framework is progressively becoming more stringent. However, he noted that Ukraine currently has a window of opportunity to persuade the European Commission to incorporate our interests into the final document.

A group of international energy analysts explained why Ukraine is keen on being the first to initiate accession negotiations concerning energy and climate chapters. This is linked to Ukraine’s notable progress in implementing recommendations within the energy sector. Additionally, they highlighted that expediting integration into the European energy landscape would facilitate private investments in energy and infrastructure for a “green” low-carbon reconstruction. Furthermore, they emphasized that the EU Green Deal and energy encompass cross-cutting issues affecting various sectors such as industry, agriculture, and transportation.

In his article, Serhiy Sydorenko, the editor of “Europeiska Pravda,” analyzed the thawing of relations between Ukraine and Hungary. He underscored that Orbán’s shift in behavior primarily stems from the desire to enhance relations with European politicians who are actively advocating for Ukraine ahead of the European Parliament elections. The expert also noted that, despite a certain degree of insincerity and the temporary, instrumental nature of the change in attitude towards Ukraine, Kyiv should seize this “window of opportunity.” He argued that “a ‘bad peace’ with Hungary is preferable to the continuation of open hostility,” as Ukraine’s progress towards NATO and the EU depends on it.

Oleksandra Zhurahivska, head of the volunteer project EnableMe Ukraine, conducted an analysis of the state policy regarding meeting the needs of people with disabilities within the framework of European integration, comparing it with relevant practices of EU countries. According to her assessment, in the immediate future, Ukraine must prioritize raising the level of employment among people with disabilities. This entails carrying out urban space reconstructions that adhere to principles of inclusivity, improving rehabilitation systems and social service provision, as well as adapting the media space to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.