REFORMS IN UKRAINE ARE INDISPENSABLE FOR COUNTRY’S DEMOCRATIZATION & MODERNIZATION
Ukraine continues its chosen path of comprehensive reforms with a broad engagement of stakeholders and citizens in broad range of public debates, drafting and further implementation. All reforms are subject to anti-corruption expertise - fight against corruption and nepotism, deeply rooted in the post-Soviet societies, are at the core of the reform agenda.
Swift and modest reforms are reflected in a number of unprecedented anti-corruption, judiciary, and law enforcement laws. Implementation of the Constitutional reform in compliance with the Minsk agreements and decentralization processes are essential in restoring public trust, transparency in decision-making and accountability of elected officials.
Despite significant economic hardships caused by Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula and Kremlin’s continuous aggression in the east of Ukraine, all branches of the Ukrainian government remain fully committed to implementing reforms in all spheres of life. Respective government-public and public-private legislative initiatives were outlined in the Government Action Plan “Recovery of Ukraine”, Parliamentary Coalition Agreement, Anti-Corruption Strategy, Ukraine-2020 Reforms Program and Strategy of Reform of the Judicial System, Court Proceedings and Associated Legal Institutions for 2015-2020.
National Reforms Council was created to ensure political consensus in setting reforms priorities, coordinating reformation actions, monitoring of reforms implementation and reaching their goals. The decisions of National Reform Council are adopted by consensus of all participants, ensuring consistency of positions in the reformation process.
In neither way, current governmental-parliamentary crisis undermines the speedy pace of comprehensive reforms. The EU Association Agreement is and will remain a significant benchmark for bringing further positive changes in overcoming mistrust, misguidance, and corruption at all levels of local and state powers in Ukraine.
State Anti-Corruption Strategy Implementation Program for 2015-2017 sets out the core tasks for preventing corruption-related crimes and fighting against corruption as such.
National Anti-Corruption Policy Council is functioning as an advisory body to the President of Ukraine. It is responsible for drafting proposals, implementing GRECO recommendations and assessing national anti-corruption measures.
National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecution Service, National Corruption Prevention Agency and State Bureau of Investigations function and contribute to “zero tolerance” corruption perception in Ukraine.
Directors and leadership staff of Ukrainian anticorruption institutions were appointed through an open and transparent election process. GRECO fully supports such initiatives.
On 16 March 2016, the President of Ukraine signed the law on amendments to several legislative acts of Ukraine on peculiarities of submission of declarations on property, income, expenditures and financial obligations by civil servants in 2016. The document was in the package of laws to be adopted for the establishment of the visa-free regime with the EU.
The legislative framework for effective Anti-Corruption reform has been established, including recent laws on transparency of financing of political parties and establishment and functioning of a specialized Agency on return of stolen assets to Ukraine.
Government of Ukraine approved the draft Law “Code of Ethical Conduct of All Civil Servants”. Document makes it compulsory to record details of all meetings and negotiations conducted by political figures and government authorities on behalf of the State.
Law on improving the work of the National Agency of Ukraine on Finding, Search and Managing of Assets received by corruption means is enforced.
The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine has launched an updated register of perpetrators of corruption violations.
Reform of the system of financial control of assets and incomes of public officials is carried out.
GRECO positively assesses Ukraine’s anti-corruption measures and legislative actions in this scope.
Ensuring high quality services at local and regional levels, increasing interregional competitiveness are at stake while introducing decentralization in Ukraine.
Empowering local communities with greater powers and more independence in budget, social and cultural fields creates credible conditions for stronger communities.
Decentralization fully corresponds with Venice Commission recommendations and provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Budget decentralization increased local budget incomes to 42%.
Financial and economic capacity of municipalities is introduced through the laws of Ukraine “On Voluntary Merger of Territorial Communities” and “On Co-operation between Territorial Communities”.
Sustainable Municipality Formation Methodology is enforced at the regional level.
Regional reform offices continue their oversight assistance work in providing best solutions to implementing decentralization at local level.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Venice Commission presented its positive findings on draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in the part of decentralization.
159 Ukrainian communities are unified. Decentralization facilitates communities’ strategic efficiency, investment climate, transparency in resource management.
Separate clause specifies peculiarities of self-government in some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is credible step towards full implementation of Minsk agreements and establishment of necessary conditions for reintegration processes in these areas.
On 18 March 2016, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine presented its decision in this case stating that the Parliament may rule which session is subject to bringing amendments to the Main Law in strict compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine and Rada Rules of Procedure.
Positive findings of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine regarding Art. 155 provisions would significantly ease further preparations on scheduling 2nd parliamentary hearing in a proper Constitutional way as required for enforcing amendments to the Constitution.
Debates within the Parliament and experts field prove all branches of government are ready to seek for best solutions in ensuring peaceful settlement in Donbas.
Draft law “On Prefects” is presented at the floor and is currently considered by respective Parliamentary committees.
“Strategy of reforming judiciary and relevant judiciary institutes in 2015-2020” facilitates effective reform of the judiciary in Ukraine in accordance with EU best practices and standards.
Law “On Restoring the Trust to Judiciary in Ukraine” became the first step in strengthening rule of law. It clarifies grounds for holding special checks of judges and holding them accountable for professionally related crimes.
On 1 February 2016, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine presented its positive findings regarding amendments to the Constitution in the judiciary field. Venice Commission has also positively assessed these amendments.
New principles of formation and work of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges are widely implemented.
Judicial Reform Council presented relevant drafts ensuring the introduction of e-justice. Amendments to Ukraine’s procedural law will facilitate the implementation of e-clerks proceeding and e-system of funds’ arrests.
Law “On Prosecution” is in force. Almost 11,000 applicants took part in the open call for filling out positions all across the country. New local and city prosecutor’s offices are established.
154 heads of local prosecutor’s offices were appointed in compliance with the Law of Ukraine “On Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine”.
178 newly established local prosecutor’s offices are established and successfully perform their functions.
Law “On National Police” is in force. Chief of the National Police of Ukraine is appointed. Ms.Dekanoidze continues the implementation of previously elaborated changes in the law enforcement sphere.
Police officers have already begun their work in 19 cities (in particular, Kyiv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Uzhgorod, Lviv, Lutsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Poltava and Mykolaiv, Boryspil).
Newly recruited trainees continue their trainings in other 7 cities all across the country.
Newly-established Department of cyberpolice is launched. It is responsible for protecting citizens from illegal use of their personal data, fight against cyberterrorism and protection of intellectual property rights.
The updated Deregulation Concept was approved; the Better Regulation Delivery Office was set up with the focus on sectors and industries most valuable for the small and medium business during 2015.
State procurement programs continue. They have already helped Ukraine to save over $20 mln in 2015. We expect to save 10 times more this year.
Deregulation abolished 59 Soviet-style permissions. Licenses for business activities were reduced from 56 to 30.
Obligatory certificates were canceled for 13 product types, including technical rehabilitation facilities, detergents, bulk of the fuel market, baby foods, etc.
Technical Regulation sphere is enriched with the legislative base and relevant infrastructure; 89% of planned EU Directives are adopted.
ProZorro procurement initiative is aimed to prevent corruption through public monitoring and a wider range of suppliers. 6 city councils have already joined this initiative.
Reporting procedure for business is simplified. New forms and new VAT reporting instructions are enforced.
“Strategy of Reforming the Banking Sector” is carried out. It is aimed to change principles and mechanisms of the corporate management systems in line with OECD recommendations.
Moratorium on company inspections should be continued until the end of 2016.
Laws in the spheres of insolvency, contract enforcement and property registration that would lead to rising up to 13 points in the Doing Business rating.
Non-bloc policy is abandoned. Euro-Atlantic integration is principal dimension in reforming Ukraine’s security and defense sector.
New National Security Strategy of Ukraine and Military Doctrine are enacted.
United Intelligence Committee under the President of Ukraine was established; the development of the new National Intelligence Program began.
Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being set up within the scope of the migration toward a new functional structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The institutional reform of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is underway.
Discount rate has decreased from 30% to 22%. There is a slowdown in inflation.
The first stage of the banking system recapitalization is completed. Thus, certain banks fulfilled recapitalization plans, others – were removed from the market. The legislation on the control of transfer pricing is improved and harmonized with the OECD principles.
National legislation secures National Bank of Ukraine’s institutional capacity and financial independence.
First phase of a transparent and effective privatization of mines is completed.
“Naftogaz Ukraine” is reorganized in accordance with the law “On Natural Gas Market”. Basic legislation for electricity market reform is adopted in accordance with the requirements of the Third Energy Package.
Targeted subsidies for energy payments is improved for vulnerable social groups.