As provided for at the website of the Norwegian Research Council (NRC) that funds the project, the project’s popular science description is as follows:
“The project analyzes how Ukraine and the European Union (EU) put into effect the Association Agreement, concluded in 2014. A deeper understanding of this process and its outcomes will help to further both the objectives of the Agreement and international cooperation more generally. In 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement that aims to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. This international treaty is the basis of political and economic cooperation between the two partners. It contains a number of EU rules that Ukraine promised to introduce and enforce “at home”. Taking over these rules, however, is often expensive and requires far-reaching reforms in Ukraine. The punctual and complete adoption and application of the rules is thus a major challenge for the country. This interdisciplinary project combines political science and law perspectives to analyze how Ukraine and the EU deal with this situation. In particular, it looks at whether and how the two partners re-adjust the content of the original agreement and with which results. In a first step, the project will provide an in-depth, objective legal assessment of how well Ukrainian laws meet the requirements of the Association Agreement. It will also study how the EU reacts to cases where Ukraine did not adopt the necessary laws as promised. In a second step, the project will look at whether Ukraine applies the new rules properly in practice and what the EU does if this is not the case. The project will be carried out with partners from the Ukrainian Catholic University, based in L’viv, and other Ukrainian cooperators. It will thus strengthen both the research capacity in Ukraine and the expertise on Ukraine in Norway. The findings will enhance our understanding of what happens with international treaties after they have been concluded. This will help to ensure that promises will not only be made by states but will be kept, which often entails better living conditions for a state’s population”.
In more academic terms, the following description can be used:
“When states enter into international treaties, they often take on obligations. Some states, however, face massive challenges to meet their contractual duties. While this could result in plain non-compliance, the concerned states may also enter into compliance negotiations with the other parties of the treaty or the international institution supervising treaty implementation in order to lower their compliance obligations and achieve ‘negotiated compliance’. This interdisciplinary project combines political science and law perspectives to study these hitherto largely ignored post-agreement negotiations. Focusing on the European Union – Ukraine 2014 Association Agreement (AA), the project aims to map and explain the occurrence and unfolding of compliance negotiations between the parties to the treaty and their results. By concluding the AA, Ukraine took on comprehensive and binding responsibilities for domestic reform. At the same time, the country struggles to live up to its promises and first informal adjustments of the Agreement are taking place. In Work Package 1, the project provides an in-depth, objective legal assessment of Ukrainian laws’ correspondence with treaty obligations and analyses the EU’s reactions to cases of non-conformity with regard to rule adoption. Accounting for potential “dead letters”, Work Package 2 draws attention to compliance with a view to rule application. The project examines various hypotheses regarding both the occurrence and results of compliance negotiations in six case studies on public procurement, trade in services, competition, energy, transport and judicial reform. The project results will have both an academic and societal impact. They will advance theoretical and empirical knowledge on compliance negotiations. At the same time, they will help to improve treaty compliance, which often entails better living conditions for a state’s population”.