Comment by the International Renaissance Foundation

The investigation, performed by journalists of the “Slidstvo.Info” program of the Hromadske.TV in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has disclosed an obvious fact of the existence of an off-shore company whose beneficiary is the President of Ukraine. This fact should receive its just appraisal.

At the same time, the proposed interpretation of the disclosed findings has caused reasoned criticism by experts, recognized journalists, and representatives of leading NGOs, which, like the Hromadske.TV, have had long-standing and productive cooperation with the Foundation in defending the freedom of speech in Ukraine.

The Irish model of the constitutional reform that takes into account the interests of the political class, but prevents their dominance, is worth studying and applying in Ukraine. On the one hand, we have to break the vicious circle of mistrust between Ukraine’s society and the political leadership of the country. On the other hand, the romanticism of “constitutional populists” should be avoided.

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How will the system of “points” for traffic violations work? When do the police have the right to use weapons and batons? How do police officers have to present themselves? The answers to all these and other questions can be found in the infographics, showing the main provisions of the new law on police in Ukraine.

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Implementing the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine to open data is in jeopardy. On 21 April 2016, the period of six months given for public authorities to make state datasets open for public will expire.

As of 2 April 2016 on a portal of open data there were only 126 datasets of the necessary 302, which is only 41.7% of the required amount. Twelve agencies have not published a single dataset specified in the Regulation.

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The Centre of Policy and Legal Reform and Reanimation Package of Reforms issued an analytical brief with the detailed analysis of the constitutional reform in Ukraine (16-31 March 2016).

The constitutional reform is underway in Ukraine, involving constitutional amendments in three areas: human rights, decentralization and reform of the judiciary. Unfortunately, the amending process in terms of ensuring the balance of powers has not been initiated so far. At present, there is increased interest towards the constitutional process on the part of civil society.

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The latest newsletter from Razumkov Centre offers articles and interviews of Centre’s experts on burning issues in Ukraine on domestic policy, the situation in the Ukrainian economy and energy system. This issue covers Crimean Tatars, Russian withdrawal from Syria and possible implications for Ukraine, the situation in the East, analysis of the Minsk agreements and many more.

See the full text of the newsletter (in Ukrainian)

 

The Institute of World Policy has prepared the info graphics about implementation of key reforms in Ukraine. It may become a strong argument of the Yes-campaign on the eve of the referendum in the Netherlands on 6 April 2016 on the EU-Ukraine Association.

See infographics (available in English and Dutch)

 

According to the Ukrainian exporters, interviewed in the framework of the IER “Dialogue on Trade Facilitation” project, the inefficient and non-transparent mechanism for the refund of value added tax (VAT) and high levels of bureaucracy are the biggest obstacles for exports. The survey also revealed that the smaller the company is, the more likely they are to face such challenges as the complexity of customs procedures and non-transparency in the activities of tax authorities. In addition, the unpredictability of the trade policy of Ukraine is a considerable challenge rather for small and medium-sized companies than large ones.

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For several weeks in a row the issue of changing the government has been debated. Now it is obvious to most experts and citizens that the Cabinet has exhausted its potential, and there is almost no hope left that it could do a better job. But not everyone understands that the old methods of its formation will not bring positive results.

Read the full text by Ihor Koliushko, Head of the Board of Centre of Policy and Legal Reform here (in Ukrainian).

 

On the event of the second anniversary of the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, the Democratic Initiatives conducted a survey among Ukrainian and EU experts and Ukrainian MPs about the benefits of European integration for Ukraine and the EU and the main obstacles on the way to it. Ukrainian and European experts unanimously agreed that corruption was the main obstacle on the way to Ukraine’s European integration. “Corruption in political and economic spheres is the main challenge to achieve the goal,” says Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation.

Read more (in Ukrainian)