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Ukraine's parliament in war: the impact of Russia's invasion on the Verkhovna Rada's ability and efforts to legislate reforms and join the European Union

Journal Title The Theory of Practice of Legislation
Published Date January 08, 2024
Research Type


Other than the Baltic countries, Ukraine has made the most progress in the transition to democracy than any other post-Soviet country. Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has been an instrumental institution in the democratisation process, and has played an increasingly significant role in furthering the public's desire to align with Europe, sometimes in opposition to Ukrainian presidents who have tried to steer the country towards Russia. Nonetheless, the path to join the European Union has not been a smooth one. On 16 September 2014, the Verkhovna Rada ratified the Association Agreement with the European Union and set out to meet its requirements. However, progress in passing the necessary reform legislation has been slow, in part due to the political dynamics operating in the country and the Parliament; proliferation of parties, repeated shifting party memberships, regional differences and oligarchic influence have all played a role in preventing agreement on reforms. The Russian invasion in February of 2022 has transformed the political dynamics in the country and the Parliament. Long-stalled reform legislation passed in a few months. This article examines the impact of Russian's invasion on the changing political dynamics that spurred Ukraine's Parliament to pursue compliance with EU requirements. It discusses the actions the Ukrainian Parliament has taken to combat corruption, improve the rule of law, and to achieve economic reform that is necessary for EU compliance. Ukraine is trying to accelerate its efforts to join the European Union and to succeed, it must meet the requirements of the EU acquis which is the body of Community rights and obligations that is binding on all the EU member states. It includes the content, principles, and obligations of the EU treaty and legislation adopted pursuant to the treaty and the case law of the Court of Justice.