Switching Gear: Law Approximation in Ukraine After the Application for EU Membership


  • Adam Lazowski
  • Tetyana Komarova Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University of Kharkiv, Ukraine


In the wake of a full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine applied for EU membership on 28 February 2022. In a matter of months, it was formally confirmed by the European Council as a candidate country. This has had a plethora of consequences; one of them is the obligation to approximate its national law with the EU acquis in its entirety. Unless there is a change of paradigm in EU pre-accession policy, transitional arrangements are strictly the exception to the rule, and therefore the law approximation effort has to go way beyond existing commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the Energy Community Treaty, and the Civil Aviation Agreement. Such switching of gear in the law approximation process comes with additional layers of complexity. For instance, compliance with the horizontal provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union governing freedoms of the internal market requires comprehensive screening of national law before any legislative changes are made. Furthermore, law approximation with EU legal acts which can only apply when a country becomes a Member State must be carefully planned and timed. The legal system must be ready to accommodate EU law, with all the principles governing enforcement, including the direct application of EU regulations. While this is all doable, it must be handled with care, especially in a country whose economy and society at large have been shattered by war.

Keywords: law approximation, dynamic approximation, pre-accession policy, membership of the European Union, association agreements, rapprochement.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.3935/cyelp.19.2023.532



This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution − Non-Commercial − No Derivatives 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation: T Komarova and A Łazowski, ‘Switching Gear: Law Approximation in Ukraine After the Application for EU Membership’ (2023) 19 CYELP 105.




How to Cite

Lazowski, A., & Komarova, T. (2023). Switching Gear: Law Approximation in Ukraine After the Application for EU Membership. Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy, 19, 105–132. Retrieved from https://www.cyelp.com/index.php/cyelp/article/view/554