Fellows contribute effectively to implementing EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Posted on 27 Jun, 2019 by Dr. Karin Rölke

On 21 June 2019, GFA Consulting Group celebrated more than 300 fellows who successfully participated in an EU-funded Fellowship Program of the Association4U project at an energetic location on the banks of the Dnipro river. The ultimate goal of this project is to achieve full and swift political and economic association of Ukraine with the European Union. The project started in January 2016 and run over a period of 42 months.

Association4U is considered a EU flagship project among the more than 20 projects focusing on the implementation of the AA in Ukraine, with funding of 7.7 million euros and more than 70,000 expert days delivered. It has been the first comprehensive assistance project that significantly enhances the Ukraine government`s capacity to implement the AA. To this effect, GFA has been applying innovative methods such as the Fellowship Program. Senior, associate and junior fellows were recruited to support the Ukraine government in the accession process and, at the same time, contribute to capacity building.

The main beneficiaries have been the Government Office for Coordination of European Integration of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (GOCEEI) and the Office of Vice-Prime-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration (OVPM). Further beneficiaries have included 54 line ministries and executive agencies in charge of implementing the Association Agreement (AA). Other stakeholders have been the Committee on European Integration of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU), the Presidential Administration, the National Reform Council (NRC), and the National Agency of Ukraine for Civil Service. The Ukraine general public has benefited from the project through major communication campaigns on the association process. 

As an achievement of the project, a total of 337 A4U fellows at different government institutions have been involved in analysing or drafting more than 1,600 EU and Ukrainian legal acts since 2016. Translation Fellows translated more than 20,000 pages of legal and AA-related documents. The A4U fellows have provided information and communicated a variety of aspects on AA/DCFTA to GOCEEI. A communication strategy, a social media campaign, contests and media events as well as information materials on the costs and benefits of Ukraine associating with the European Union has targeted the general public. A total of ten guidelines, eighteen position papers and a large number of trainings, workshops and conferences has helped GOCEEI coordinate line ministries pro-actively, and prepare and monitor policy issues as part of the AA implementation. A4U has also developed 26 studies on DCFTA that touch upon a variety of subject matters such as the removal of technical barriers to trade and improving Ukraine's quality infrastructure. Other topics included remaining tariffs that limit Ukraine's exports, the accession of the country to Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention, sustainable trade development, governmental, business and civil society consultations, and analyses of stakeholders and creative industries.

As such the A4U project and its Fellowship Program has proved to be a stepping stone for the future career of fellows. A survey among 83 fellows revealed that 35% of them became civil servants, 29% work with Ukrainian NGOs, 24% joined international projects, 6% went abroad for further studies, and 6% moved on to the private sector.

More information on the project can be retrieved from

> What is Association4U (PDF)

> Project website

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