MEPs urge Ukraine to maintain anti-corruption focus and to avoid any pitfalls
The EP's Delegation to the EU-Ukraine PAC in cooperation with the European Commission hosted a stock-taking event on the anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine on Thursday.
Together with Commissioner Hahn, representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and heads of anti-corruption agencies, academic experts and civil society organisations MEPs debated the achievements and challenges to fight corruption in Ukraine. Following the event MEPs Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL), Rebecca Harms (Greens, DE) and Michael Gahler (EPP, DE) stated:
"Today's event demonstrates the joint commitment of EU institutions to maintain a strong focus on a successful fight against corruption in Ukraine. Organising such a discussion does not mean that we want to dwell on negative developments only, when dealing with Ukraine - quite the contrary. Our exchange of views has shown that there is good reason for hope, as corruption is being combatted not only through the setting up of relevant institutions, but also through an impressive range of sectoral actions which decisively contribute to closing the space for corruption in many areas. Reforms in the energy sector, the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, the decentralisation process or new tools for public procurement equally play a tremendous role in this respect.
Today we clearly said that all these parallel processes deserve further encouragement and consolidation, but also that all attempts to water down already achieved progress do not go unnoticed. In particular, we were worried to hear that the law obliging civil society activists working in the field of anti-corruption to submit an e-declaration of assets is unlikely to be revised any time soon. And it will take probably at least one more year to set up the High-anti-corruption court which has been under discussion for many months already. We see, unfortunately, a lot of resistance, and failure to deliver costs a lot to Ukraine – the non-establishment of an effective verification system for asset declarations has for example been one of the reasons for the recent cancellation of a last 600 million euro tranche of EU macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.
In our view, fight against corruption deserves a strong, joint commitment from all relevant Ukrainian institutions – a commitment which should be reflected in strategic documents setting out priorities with clear deadlines. Fighting corruption should furthermore also be each and everyone's responsibility – and here education plays a crucial role when it comes to decreasing the tolerance to corruption.
It is our firm intention to further monitor closely the related developments and to continue these discussions, including in Ukraine with our counterparts in the Verkhovna Rada."