One and a half months have passed since Ukraine received the status of a candidate for EU membership with a number of recommendations that must be followed for further promotion to membership.
The New Europe Center in partnership with the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), the National Interests Advocacy Network (ANTS) and the DEJURE Foundation carried out a Candidate Check – the first independent monitoring of Ukraine’s implementation of EU recommendations.
Director of NEC Alyona Getmanchuk wrote more about this research in her blog for “Ukrainian Pravda”.
In general, experts from different Ukrainian think tanks noted good progress in the implementation of reforms (on a 10-point scale):
- Reform of the Constitutional Court – 0 points
- Reform of Supreme Council of Justice and Higher Qualification Commission of Judges – 7 points
- Anti-corruption: SAP (Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecution) and NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine)– 6 points
- Fight against money laundering – 5 points
- Anti-oligarchic reform – 2 points
- Media legislation – 6 points
- Legislation on national minorities – 5 points
OVERALL SCORE : 4.4 points
Summary of the first monitoring:
- In the field of ANTI-CORRUPTION, the appointment of Oleksandr Klymenko, the finalist of the competition, as the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) on July 28 was extremely positive news.
- At the same time, it is important that the authorities do not create artificial obstacles for the NABU director competition.
- In the field of JUDICIAL reform, the election of two new members of the Supreme Council of Justice on August 15, to whom there were no complaints from civil society, was a breakthrough.
- At the same time, despite the recommendation of the Venice Commission not to appoint new judges of the Constitutional Court until the creation of new legislation, 4 new judges were appointed to the Constitutional Court in Ukraine.
- Although civil society was not always allowed to develop legislation in various areas, the authorities developed draft laws on MEDIA and NATIONAL MINORITIES, and work began on the CONSTITUTIONAL COURT reform .
- In SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER, the implementation of most reforms is expected: completion of the verification of candidates for positions in the Supreme Council of Justice and Higher Qualification Commission of Judges ; adoption of the Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Reforming the Law Enforcement Sector; adoption of the anti-oligarchic law.
UPDATE (September 12)
Since then an array of new developments in reforms implementation took place. The New Europe Center is monitoring the process carefully. These developments will be taken into account and depicted in the Candidate-check 2 (in October).
To name but few:
- Constitutional Court of Ukraine
On September 6, Verkhovna Rada supported the draft law №7662 on the selection of judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on a competitive basis in the first reading (281 MPs).
The draft law №7662 envisages that the commission consists of international experts and representatives of the authorities instead of international experts and civil society representatives, as envisaged by the Venice Commission recommendation.
Conclusion: Positively, the law was worked out quickly and passed through the first reading. Yet, by the second reading, MPs have to amend the clause on the “Advisory Group of Experts”.
- High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine
HCJ: On August 19, Dmytro Lukyanov was elected a member of the High Council of Justice by the Congress of Scientists. This was highly criticized by civil society. As of September 1, 2022, the HCJ consisted of 7 members and 14 vacant seats.
HQCJ: The competitive commission for the selection of members of the HQCJ resumed its work. Currently, the process of receiving documents is completed. The process of conducting interviews should begin in the near future. 302 people submitted documents to participate in the competition. All 16 places of the HQCJ remain vacant.
On September 5, the G7 Ambassadors criticized draft law No. 7654 (proposed by the MP from “Servant of the People” Andriy Klochko), which ‘created legal risks and uncertainties surrounding the selection procedures for the leadership of Ukraine’s key anti-corruption institutions’. Finally, it was not voted by Rada.
Instead, on September 7, the Verkhovna Rada approved the controversial bill No. 8003. It prohibits lawyers who, after February 24, 2022, went abroad for personal reasons and stayed there for more than 21 days from participating in the competition for the NABU Director. Transparency International-Ukraine urged President of Ukraine to veto this law.
- Media legislation
On August 30, Verkhovna Rada supported the draft law “On Media” №2693-d in the first reading (233 MPs), which was welcomed by the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
Yet, Group of MPs opposed this “anti-Ukrainian” draft law, as it could destroy the mechanisms of protection of the Ukrainian language and the national cultural and information space provided by the current laws.
Conclusion: It was important to adopt the draft law in the first reading as such to show the EU Ukraine’s readiness to implement reforms. By the second reading, the Ukrainian side will still have time to finalize it and make all necessary amendments.
The New Europe Center would like to thank partners Olena Halushka (AntAC), Hanna Hopko (ANTS), Mykhailo Zhernakov (DEJURE), Oksana Romanyuk (IMI), as well as reviewers Ihor Koliushko, Oleksandr Marusyak, Roman Smalyuk, Yevhen Krapyvinu ; Andrii Borovyk and Kateryna Ryzhenko (Transparency International Ukraine).