On June 24, the Government Office for Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration presented a report on the implementation of the Association Agreement in 2015-2020. According to the report, Ukraine has fulfilled 54% of the Association Agreement. At first glance, this figure looks large. However, I suggest finding out what does it mean. To do this, I propose to take into account the assessments of our Centre.

According to our analysis which we made in 2020, Ukraine fulfilled the Association Agreement by 41.6% during 2014-2019. The government estimation for the same period was very similar – 42%. But if to look more closely at the methodology for calculating the government progress rate, one can see its similarity to the “overall temperature in the ward.” It does not mean that the Association Agreement has been implemented by 42% or 54% in terms of the full and complete implementation of its commitments. This figure is a measure of the overall progress in the implementation of point measures. Therefore, the final evaluation includes a set of intermediate steps, such as the registration of a draft law or its discussion. So the question remains, what is the indicator of the fulfillment of the tasks of the Association Agreement which have been “completed” and which more accurately characterizes the “full” implementation of Ukraine’s commitments?

According to our estimates from last year, as of 2019, Ukraine has fulfilled the Association Agreements by 12.3%, if we talk about the “completed” or “full” implementation of the tasks set for Ukraine.

To this end, our methodology uses the term “perfect implementation”, when the transposition of national legislation and/or its practical implementation corresponds to the EU acquis and best European practices. And on this basis, we can talk about the implementation of the Agreement as a logically completed or “implemented” process (at the level of tasks). In order to fix intermediate steps that bring responsible state bodies closer to the final result, we have two other gradations of progress: “early implementation” – the initial stages of approximation of Ukrainian legislation to EU standards or their practical implementation, and “advanced implementation” – for cases where certain steps have already been taken, but certain elements of the legal framework or effective enforcement are lacking. Our estimates from last year show that 10.4% of the Agreement’s tasks were completed at an “advanced” stage, 18.9% were at an “early” stage, which gave us overall progress of 41.6%, taking into account intermediate progress.

This year, we have just started our analysis and hence cannot yet make a comparison with the published figures of the Government Office. But given the fact these figures were very commensurate last year, I assume that the situation will be similar this year. And thus, the government’s assessment of progress at 54% should be considered as overall progress. It is still difficult for me to say what percentage of tasks within this indicator can be considered “perfect”, i.e. completion of the tasks in full.

Why do we accentuate the full implementation of the Association Agreement and not on generalized indicators? I believe that one day we will start the EU accession process. And when we get to that, the EU will not be interested in general progress or our intermediate steps, but in the completion of sectoral reforms, which will eventually enable the real work of Ukrainian political, economic, and social institutions in line with EU best practices, the results of which will be visible to every citizen of our country. Therefore, when we talk about the “implementation” of the Agreement, these assessments should be based on the final results achieved, while respecting the intermediate efforts made on this difficult path.

Liubov Akulenko,
Executive Director, Ukrainian Centre for European Policy