European leaders can’t seem to agree whether Ukraine can join the European Union. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said his country is on a two-year timeline for membership, while French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has estimated it will take “decades.” Many agree, however, that membership will take a lot of hard work for Ukraine, including reaching a peace settlement with Russia in the still very active war.
But what could Ukraine look like if it joined the E.U. — and how, in turn, could its inclusion change the organization?
These reforms began to take shape when Ukraine signed an association agreement with the E.U. in 2014. Major efforts have been made since to fight corruption, move power from the central government to municipalities and to strengthen the rule of law, says Milada Vachudova, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied post-communist countries joining the E.U.