The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) research center called on Brussels to help Ukraine carry out judicial and security sector reform. The organization presented a report containing a series of recommendations for the EU on how to influence the transformation process.
As noted in the document, the text of which was reviewed by RT, Europe should “follow” the upcoming events in Kiev and “use its influence” to make them successful. We are talking about a whole series of gradual transformations, which include the adoption of laws on the General Prosecutor's Office, the Security Service (SBU), state secret and a number of other initiatives, as well as the appointment of new heads of departments, in particular the prosecutor general.
“At each of these stages, events can take an unwanted turn. Europe should determine how it can take advantage of its influence on the Ukrainian government in order to ensure a successful outcome of all the above stages. At the same time, the association should pay attention to ways of counteracting the interested parties operating in the republic, ”the European Council on Foreign Relations believes.
The document also notes that representatives of the European Union should "persistently" talk with Ukrainian politicians and explain to new ministers, the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and other senior officials what the shortcomings of the current reform efforts are.
To stimulate Ukraine, the EU could offer Kiev investment in infrastructure in exchange for a guarantee of reform, the authors of the report suggest. According to them, Ukraine is in dire need of financial support, especially "in the war-torn east." In addition, as a motivation, the EU may reduce import quotas for agricultural products and link the € 1 billion aid package approved last year to the results of the reforms.
In addition, the report states that it is important for Brussels to cooperate with Washington on the Ukrainian issue, since the EU and US authorities are in solidarity with what reforms Ukraine needs.
Recall that the United States has been actively “helping” Ukraine for several years. So, Washington has already announced its intentions to support the reform of state-owned enterprises, including privatization, as well as transformations in the Ukrainian army. The European Union, in turn, will contribute to the reform of the tax and customs systems. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance, Europe will allocate € 29.5 million for these purposes. However, as experts say in an interview with RT, in reality, these programs have absolutely selfish interests.
Member of the Council on Interethnic Relations under the President of Russia Bogdan Bezpalko believes that the EU has its own economic interest in Ukraine. “Help” in reforming “united Europe” can easily transform into an instrument of pressure.
“In the future, the European Union may demand from Ukraine favorable reforms and steps. For example, the sale of land to foreigners or raw forest, which is now a moratorium. In essence, sales in Ukraine, ”the expert added in an interview with RT.
We will remind, earlier the Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky said that he was going to launch land reform, which will allow the sale of agricultural land. In his opinion, this will help the country overcome the economic crisis.
- President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky
- © Janek Skarzynski
In addition, the European Union is aware that the money allocated to Ukraine is systematically stolen, said political analyst Ivan Mezyuho. Moreover, the change of power in the country does not mean that the corruption component in the development of European funds will disappear somewhere. Therefore, now the EU is talking about the need to monitor judicial reform in the first place in order to protect its own investments.
“The EU wants to protect itself, to get a guarantee that their money will not be so brazenly squandered by the political elite of Ukraine. It would be naive to believe that Brussels does not realize which state they are dealing with, ”he said in an interview with RT.
“It's too early to praise”
Even during the election campaign, Vladimir Zelensky advocated reform, however, as European analysts note in his report, it is not yet clear whether he is interested in bringing the matter to an end.
According to them, it is too early to draw positive conclusions about Zelensky’s work. Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at first also announced the transformation, but their policy completely failed.
“By and large, the Zelensky team has the potential to carry out genuine reforms. But it’s too early to praise the new president. The first coalition government of Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk also appointed many supporters of reforms to government posts. However, they were fired one by one because of dissatisfaction with the obstacles that arose in their work, as well as because of the desire of the country's leadership to hide their corruption actions, ”the authors of the material write.
According to the document, during the Euromaidan, Ukrainian citizens opposed the corrupt government, but the new government, elected as a result of the coup d'etat, also did not live up to expectations in either Ukraine or the West. Zelensky promised to work better, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Recall that in June the President of Ukraine announced his intention to restart the judicial reform. The Zelensky administration is unhappy with how the previous leadership of the country was rebuilding the judicial branch. They also believe that the authorities make decisions that are not based on constitutional requirements.
Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, experts interviewed by RT agreed that even with the help of the West, the country's chances for real changes under the current government are rather small. According to them, after the elections in Kiev, the beneficiaries of European funds have changed, but the scheme of work has remained the same.
“I doubt that the team of the new president is able to carry out effective judicial reform in the country today. The administration is hardly interested in the judiciary becoming independent of the institutions of power. Partially, the EU initiative can take on a real shape, but most likely there will not be a full-fledged reform, ”said political analyst Ivan Mezyuho.
- Hryvnia and dollars
- © Valentyn Ogirenko
Judicial reform in Ukraine was launched back in 2014 by former leader Petro Poroshenko, as this was one of the requirements of the participants of the “Euromaidan”. It was planned to bring legal proceedings to European standards, reduce corruption and update the judiciary. Some changes were contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution, as a result of which the authorities made changes to the fundamental law. So, the immunity of judges was limited, a legal monopoly was established on the representation and protection of the rights and interests of individuals and legal entities in the courts, and the institution of a constitutional complaint was introduced.
However, as European analysts noted, the Poroshenko administration sought to ensure that law enforcement agencies are flexible and loyal, rather than effective and impartial.
“The implementation of reforms in the judiciary, law enforcement agencies and special services has diverged significantly from expectations. “The desire of Poroshenko and some other members of the government to save loopholes that allowed them to avoid criminal prosecution for corruption and embezzlement of public funds, as well as to secure influence in any public sphere that would allow them to remain in the status of chief judges in unofficial power circles,” the report says.
The rampant of corruption in power structures is one of the reasons why the population of Ukraine massively voted for Zelensky in the elections, Bohdan Bezpalko recalled.
“Poroshenko made the courts an instrument of his influence, including on opponents. It is impossible to speak seriously about the reforms carried out under him in the judicial branch of Ukraine. Let's remember the pickets, the pressure on the court and the judges. Is it a healthy law enforcement system? ”He added.
It is also worth noting that the presidency of Poroshenko ended with the opening of 11 criminal cases against senior officials of Ukraine, in which the former head of state also appears. The proceedings relate to the possible legalization of proceeds of crime and possible interference with the activities of judges.