The case of Ukraine’s candidacy to the EU

Progressive policy towards the eastern neighbourhood as a cornerstone of the EU's stability and security

Policy Study


The future of Europe as a stable, democratic, prosperous, peaceful, valued-based community that is embedded in a well-functioning multilateral system of global governance depends on the success of Ukraine’s post-war transformation into a modern, resilient democracy, which eventually succeeds in its full European integration.

In this policy study, Dr Andriy Korniychuk, Post-doctoral fellow at FEPS, discusses why Ukraine’s European path must lead to another (eastern) enlargement. He argues that a stronger progressive mindset and actions will be needed to turn Ukraine’s recovery into an EU membership success story, instead of fuelling frustration on both sides, which will ultimately play into the hands of populists and Eurosceptics, undermining the EU’s internal stability and its credibility as a global actor.

Dr Andriy Korniychuk also looks at the socio-political dimension of Ukraine’s post-war recovery process. In particular, he argues for the importance of strengthening those “progressive” elements of Ukraine’s “imperfect” model of democracy, which make it likely to succeed not only in recovery but also on its accession path to EU membership, despite what might seem at the moment as insurmountable obstacles.

While Kyiv will have to fulfil the EU accession criteria and deliver on its far-reaching plans laid out in a number of strategic recovery documents, the EU, in its own regard, must implement a new vision of enlargement and neighbourhood policies to meet Ukraine’s ambitions, as well as the changing needs of its eastern neighbours.

Lastly, he discusses elements that should serve as building blocks for the relations between the EU and its (eastern) neighbours and contribute to its new approach to enlargement policy. The policy study includes a number of observations on the recommended way forward.


This is the first publication in the framework of the project ‘Progressive paths to rebuild Ukraine’.

In partnership with the FMS, Amicus Europae, FJJ, Karl-Renner-Institut, FES Ukraine, and Kalevi Sorsa Foundation, FEPS is launching the project ‘Progressive Paths to Rebuild Ukraine’, an initiative to support progressives in developing a clearer and common vision for the future of Ukraine and its place in the European Union.

While EU’s military support is indispensable as part of its solidarity with Ukraine and also to protect Europe against the Russian threat, ensuring a substantial, solid democracy and an inclusive socio-democratic state in Ukraine are crucial for achieving durable peace. 

The objectives of this project are to map the assets among progressives that can be helpful when the opportunity to rebuild Ukraine arises, to foster critical discussions and build a progressive community debating the issues of reconstruction, and to develop analyses and policy recommendations that support concrete action to rebuild Ukraine.

Amicus Europæ
Fondation Jean-Jaurès
Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS)
Kalevi Sorsa Foundation
Karl Renner Institut
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