New policy brief evaluating the EU’s Assistance to Ukraine

Title: Fit for Purpose? Evaluating the EU’s Assistance to Ukraine
Authors: Kataryna Wolczuk and Darius Zeruolis
Release date: March 2019

Ukraine opted for closer economic and political ties with the European Union (EU) when it signed an Association Agreement (AA) in 2014. The agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is a bilateral agreement that regulates relations between the EU and Ukraine; it also contains a free-trade area. The agreement covers a large swathe of the EU acquis – the accumulated body of acts and court decisions that constitute EU law. As well as removing (or lowering) tariffs and quotas, the AA-DCFTA will lead to the alignment of Ukraine’s regulatory frameworks with those of the EU.2 This process of ‘legal approximation’, whereby EU rules are incorporated into national laws and institutions are created or reformed to administer those rules, is often viewed as a technocratic, ‘low-politics’ process. However, it does require strong functioning institutions to enact a plethora of commitments, something that Ukraine has yet to develop. As it is, the AA commitments exceed Ukraine’s capacity to implement them. In recognition of this, the EU has stepped up its assistance to Ukraine since 2014. This paper will provide an overview of the support provided by the EU since 2014 with a view to assessing its effectiveness.