Ukraine's accession to EU may require 20% increase in bloc's budget, EU Commissioner Hahn says
Johannes Hahn (Photo: EPA)

The European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, believes that Ukraine's planned accession to the European Union may require a 20% increase in the EU budget. Such an increase will be necessary if the existing rules for providing agricultural aid and structural support within the EU are maintained, the German newspaper Oldenburger Onlinezeitung reports.

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"It sounds gigantic, but it corresponds to only 0.2% of the European economic output, and it is certainly feasible. It is a worthy investment, because Ukraine has a huge economic potential," he said.

According to Hahn, a 20% increase in the budget means an additional 200 billion euros over the seven-year EU budget period, as it is today.

"The financial side of the issue worries me the least. A more serious problem is preparation in the EU: how do we make decisions, how do we ensure the rule of law? How do we unite Ukraine's large agricultural sector with our agriculture?" stressed the European official.

The EU needs institutional reforms that do not depend on the accession of Ukraine and the countries of the Western Balkans, such as making decisions by majority instead of unanimity in foreign policy.

The European commissioner made it clear that he does not expect Ukraine to join the EU quickly. According to him, the relevant accession by 2028 – the beginning of the next seven-year financial program – is "unrealistic".

Hahn noted that it is impossible to predict when Ukraine will be ready for accession.

"Joining in conditions of war is unthinkable. First of all, Ukraine is fighting for survival. All countries joining the EU must fulfill the demands of reforms," he added.

On December 14, 2023, the EU agreed to start accession negotiations with Ukraine.

On January 26, 2024, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the start of work on assessing the compliance of Ukrainian legislation with EU norms.

The Deputy Prime Minister-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olga Stefanishyna claims that in June 2024 the EU countries can propose a negotiation framework for the start of the process of Ukraine's accession.

The head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Katarína Mathernová, stressed that the country needs to carry out "fundamental institutional reforms" before joining.