DYNAMICS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN UKRAINE AND THE EU: PROSPECTS AND NEW CHALLENGES
Abstract. The entry into force of the Association Agreement with the European Union was a fateful event for the contemporary history of Ukraine. Currently, both components of the association: political one, which consists in spreading European values to Ukraine, and economic one, which involves Ukraine's integration into the EU internal market in exchange for legislation approximation, are without exaggeration fundamental factors for further development of Ukraine. The results of the previous years of the Association Agreement implementation testify to both significant achievements and a number of problems in Ukraine's fulfillment of its association with the EU “homework”. The article is devoted to the analysis of dynamics and the recent trends in the process of the Agreement implementation. As a result of the political changes that took place in Ukraine in 2019, including the election of a new president, parliament and government, European integration work on the implementation of the Association Agreement began in the new conditions. The improvement of the national institutional mechanism designed to ensure better coordination of work on the implementation of the Agreement between the competent authorities is among the positive trends in the process of its implementation. The fundamental legal principles and basic directions of work on Agreement updating are analyzed. It is proved that the prospect of updating has become an effective impetus to improve implementation processes. By initiating such an update, in order to strengthen its position in the negotiations with the EU, the Ukrainian side is forced to objectively assess the effectiveness of the Agreement implementation in certain areas and to intensify the completion of processes that are significantly behind. A new challenge in the process of implementing the Association Agreement was the emergence of the pandemic factor in 2020. The introduction of national quarantine and the incidence rate have significantly shifted priorities and affected European integration processes, both within Ukraine and at the EU level.
At the same time, it was stressed that the situation to ensure the Rule of law, in particular, the fight against corruption is the main challenge not only to obligations fulfillment under the agreement, but also to the entire European integration policy of Ukraine. It is noted that the
decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to repeal a significant part of anti-corruption legislation threatens the further integration of Ukraine with the EU. It was stressed that the future of not only Ukraine but also the region as a whole depends on whether the Association Agreement with the European Union will continue to serve as a transformational force capable of overcoming the weakness of the Rule of law within the country. Keywords: European Union, Association Agreement, implementation of association agreement, legislation approximation, rule of law, anti-corruption policy.