Ukraine: MEPs call for results in fight against corruption and dismantled oligarchies
- MEPs welcome Ukraine’s progress in reforms
- EU assistance should be subject to strict conditionality
- Substantial anti-corruption results needed to maintain citizens’ support
Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs praise Ukraine’s progress on important reforms that bring the country further towards political association and economic integration with the EU.
Ukraine has progressed in its commitments made in the Association Agreement (AA/DCFTA) with the European Union; particularly in the fields of agriculture, energy, banking, decentralisation, digital economy, environment and electoral procedures. MEPs acknowledged the improvements in a report adopted on Monday by 53 votes in favour, 7 against and 8 abstentions.
Corruption and political pressure on independent institutions
They warn, however, that a number of reforms must still be carried out in order to avoid any backsliding and singled out the judiciary as one of the least-trusted institutions in Ukraine.
In the report on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine, MEPs criticise attempts by authorities to exert political pressure on independent economic institutions and enforcement authorities, and express their disappointment with the lack of progress in dismantling oligarchies in the country.
Substantial results in the fight against corruption are essential if support for reform is to be maintained among citizens, say MEPs. They also call on the Commission to develop qualitative mechanisms to monitor Ukraine’s implementation of reforms, including clear benchmarks and principles of conditionality.
EU committed to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity
Praising the smooth transition of power in the country after the elections last year, MEPs reiterated the European Union’s unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and its support for the internationally coordinated sanctioning of the Russian Government. They also strongly condemn the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, religion or belief and association, as well as the right to peaceful assembly denied in Crimea and Donbas.
Help in COVID-19 emergency
MEPs take note that, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian economy had recovered stability and showed satisfactory growth and decreasing unemployment, which was fostered by the progress made in exploiting the potential of the AA/DCFTA. They also welcome the unprecedented financial aid package that the EU made available to Ukraine to cope with the COVID-19 emergency, as a crucial demonstration of the EU’s solidarity.
The rapporteur Michael Gahler (EPP, DE) said: “The path the country has pursued since the Revolution of Dignity is impressive. Huge challenges remain: continued Russian aggression, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the activities of those who continue to disregard the Rule of Law and anti-corruption efforts. The real reformers in Ukraine deserve our continued support in order to meet the expectations of their citizens.”
The Association Agreement (AA), including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) signed in 2014, is the main tool for bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together, promoting deeper political ties, stronger economic links and respect for common values. Priority reforms include the fight against corruption, reform of the judiciary, constitutional and electoral reforms, improvement of the business climate and energy efficiency, as well as reform of public administration and decentralisation.