Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

The EU isn’t ready to absorb Ukraine

By Ilke Toygür and Max Bergmann

17 Jul 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Ukraine is working towards joining the European Union (EU), having attained candidate status in June 2022 and is pushing for the start of accession negotiations by the end of the year. However, the EU and its member states are not adequately prepared to absorb a country of Ukraine's size, population, low income level, and reconstruction needs.

Ukraine is in the waiting room to join both NATO and the European Union. NATO leaders meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, disappointed Kyiv last week with only a vague statement on a future invitation to join the alliance when “conditions are met.”

But at least NATO is being honest in signaling that there are still obstacles to overcome among the allies. That stands in stark contrast to the EU and its messaging on Ukrainian membership. If you think Ukraine’s path to NATO is a struggle, wait until what happens when Ukraine’s EU accession gets serious.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content