Opportunities and barriers to Ukraine’s accession to the European Union: Selected aspects
The article includes a research about opportunities and barriers in the process of European integration in Ukraine. Three main aspects were chosen: geopolitical position, corruption and differentiation of the regions. Each of these aspects is a significant obstacle to the transformation of Ukraine, but due to successful and effective reform they can become advantages which will help to transform the country into a European state.
Since its independence Ukraine has become a barrier between East and West. Its geopolitical position played a negative role in determining priorities and directions of the foreign policy. As a result Maidan appeared, Crimea was annexed, terrorist activities in Eastern Ukraine began. All these events reflected negatively on integration and transformation processes in the country. However, Ukraine has chosen Western direction of development that can give wide opportunities in future.
One of the negative factors hindering Ukraine’s way to Europe is the high level of corruption. According to Transparency International Ukraine was placed 142nd on the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2014. This indicates that it is one of the most corrupted countries in the world. Following the experience of European countries, first of all Czech Republic, the Government of Ukraine has developed anti-corruption strategy for 2014–2017. If it is successful, Ukraine has a chance to reduce corruption and it will also facilitate conditions for other reforms.
Another aspect which has a negative influence on effective governance are regional differences. Poland is a good example of the country which could turn this disadvantage into advantage. Ukraine has adopted National Strategy for Regional Development 2020 which will provide effective control into the regions to direct their activity on development of local and country economy.
Ukraine has a chance to change its position on the political map. The experience of neighboring countries which are members of the European Union and had completed the transformation process can help Ukraine to overcome most of the obstacles on the way to Europe and become a strong and prosperous state.