On June 16th, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy gave some support to the Ukrainian request for EU Candidate status. While Candidate status may lead to membership, to me it looks like a promise to hold structured talks about holding structured talks on a large number of chapters, which tend to take years. Turkey has been a candidate for more than two decades and no resolution is in sight.

What I would like to know is how the public and media in Ukraine understand the current situation. What are their expectations about the timeline? Is there a consensus view or are there divergent expectations between various experts and different segments of society?

I hope for answers from people who speak the language and follow the local news. Opinion polls would be even better, but I wonder if they exist.

  • I'm not sure if Turkey is the prototypical example. But yeah, it took Croatia about 10 years from application to membership. No doubt the "elites" in Ukraine (media etc.) know this. And despite the length of this process, at the end of it there wasn't that much controversy, at least judging by the number unanimous ratifications in a good number of EU countries' parliaments. Jun 25, 2022 at 5:39
  • @Fizz, elites in the EU seem deeply sceptical about Ukraine's rule of law, and wonder if victim status should be allowed to override that. Also, the question if there needs to be reform before any enlargement is more obvious than it was for Hungary.
    – o.m.
    Jun 25, 2022 at 6:07
  • Well, both Hungary and Poland were ran by much more liberal coalition/parties when they joined the EU than they are now. So there's that kind of caveat emptor. As one press article put it, the "dirty remain" of Poland & Hungary might have been worse than the Brexit. Jun 25, 2022 at 6:10
  • @Fizz indeed, Turkey is not typical. Its candidacy has been controversial in the EU, at least in terms of public opinion, and at some point Turkey decided no longer to pursue its candidacy. I don't know whether Turkey ever resumed that pursuit officially, but it certainly doesn't seem so in practical terms.
    – phoog
    Jun 25, 2022 at 7:15

1 Answer 1


As no native speakers appear to have stepped up... there is a poll here with at least a summary in English (poll conducted June 18-19 this year by the "Rating" group.) According to that :

• 69% of respondents believe that Ukraine will join the EU in 5 years (40% believe it will happen in 1-2 years, and 29%, up to five years). Another 14% believe that Ukraine will become a member of the EU in the next 5 to 10 years, and 3%, in 10 to 20 years. Only 7% do not believe that Ukraine will integrate into the European Union.

So, yeah, the average Ukrainian seems much more optimistic on the time frame than e.g. the admission schedule for Croatia was, i.e. ~10 years since official candidacy.

One has to wonder if Macron's quip on the matter from May, speaking of "decades", made the news at all in Ukraine, but I don't know about that. Aside: I don't know if Macron would be flattered by this, but his approval rating in Ukraine is about the same as that of Turkish president Erdogan (58%/59% approve of them two- same poll), but certainly better than that of German Chancellor Scholz - 41% approval, it seems. (Polish President Duda had 90%., a score he shared with Boris Johnson.) The recent downward trend for Macron--he had 75% approval in April, seems to suggest that at least of the things he said may have been heard in Ukraine, but it we can't be too sure just based on that.

As for the original question, somewhat more detail (e.g. by age or region of Ukraine) is available in a slide (Ukrainian only).

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To me, the most interesting part of that (left side) is that in the months prior (March), the expectation that Ukraine would be joining the EU fast (1-2 years) was even higher (up to 60%). This is quite in contrast to the same poll conducted in previous year, when virtually nobody said it would that little time. So, it does seem that the invasion had dramatically boosted those expectations, in terms of schedule as well, but since then we're seeing a downward trend.

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