How Ukraine must develop its minority policy to avoid the “ethnic trap” during EU accession negotiations, and how international partners could help
The conditions for Ukraine’s EU candidate status about the need to ensure the rights of national minorities should be taken by Kyiv as seriously as other seemingly more difficult reforms from the list agreed upon with Brussels. This issue is not just about Hungary or Viktor Orbán’s domestic and geopolitical games. For Ukraine, this issue is much broader and deeper than all this, and requires more comprehensive and sophisticated policy work, both at the bilateral and multilateral levels. This policy brief explains the complexity of the ethnic issue for Ukraine in its path towards the EU and what actions should be taken.
On June 17, 2022, when the European Commission recommended granting Ukraine the EU candidate status, it simultaneously announced a list of requirements and conditions that Kyiv must fulfil. These requirements must be fulfilled by Ukraine not to start the negotiations with the EU on accession but to prove the EU candidate status, which was granted to Ukraine together with Moldova in a historically short time and under the unprecedented situation of the full-scale Russian invasion. Expectedly, one of the seven conditions is to “finalise the reform of the legal framework for national minorities currently under preparation as recommended by the Venice Commission and adopt immediate and effective implementation mechanisms”.
Many interpretations in the media state that this condition was added to the list of demands solely at the request of Hungary, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement lobbying, and to protect against sudden blockades by Viktor Orbán’s team. However, since June 2022, it is no less important of a condition than the others, which include reforms to the Constitutional Court, the continuation of judicial and anti-corruption reforms, ensuring anti-money laundering legislation, and the implementation of the Anti-Oligarch law.
Read more in the policy brief below.