June 2022, the European Commission announced granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country to the European Union. Nevertheless, problems concerning Ukraine such as their struggle with their economy and political system, are still on the agenda. Giving the candidacy status to Ukraine has been criticized since Ukraine is still regarded as a weak country and not yet eligible for such a status especially when compared with other European candidates. European accession is granted after an assessment process based on what is known as Copenhagen criteria. European officials have announced that the accession process will be done by the book and merit based. In the same vein, the commission has granted Moldova the same status which is, the same as Ukraine, considered part of Russia’s sphere of influence. Keeping all this in mind, in the light of Russian war in Ukraine, it is a valid question to ask whether Ukraine candidacy is merit based or politicized. Is the fifth enlargement scenario of the accession of incompetent Bulgaria and Romania as a reward for their role in Kosovo war is being repeated with Ukraine? Considering this, the analysis is going to examine why Ukraine was accepted as a candidate. Drawing on European Commission’s reports, it will be discovered which of Copenhagen criteria are fulfilled by Ukraine. Copenhagen Criteria are:
Stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities (Political Criteria)
A functioning market economy and the ability to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU (Economic Criteria)
The ability to take on the obligations of membership, including the capacity to effectively implement the rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law (the ‘acquis’), and adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.