EU officials: “Ukraine is leading in reforms among the Eastern Partnership countries”

On the 14th January 2016, the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs and Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, in cooperation with the Open Society European Policy Institute, organized the Conference “Association Commitments: What Progress in Reforms in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine”.

DSC00009During the conference, high-level officials of the European institutions shared their views of the reform process in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. They have agreed that Ukraine is a leader in the reform process. Despite the positive assessment, speakers drew attention to the necessity of continuing and accelerating reforms in Ukraine. The officials underlined Ukraine’s progress on decentralisation and reforms of law enforcement agencies as well as fight against corruption and discrimination. Ukraine was able to stabilise the economy and make the necessary changes to legislation in order to accelerate visa liberalisation dialog with the EU.

On the agenda remain reforms of the judiciary, public finance, electoral legislation and the continuation of the changes that would ensure the transformation necessary for building sustainable democracy in Ukraine.

The EU officials once again expressed their full support for Ukraine in its pursuit of reforms, which despite the threats to the security (occupation of Crimea, Russian aggression in the East), continues the reform process.

Dr. Oleksandr Sushko, Scientific Director, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation – member of the UTTLOB, emphasised that the time of general talks is over and the hard work is needed. The government and civil society in Ukraine are open to external help and expertise. Society is ready for a change. “Now we have a situation, when domestic demand for reform and external pressure coincide” – stated Oleksandr Sushko. The expert urged Ukraine and the EU to a close and productive work for better changes in Ukraine.

Oleksandr Banchuk, Criminal Justice Coordinator, Centre for Political and Legal Reforms in Ukraine – member of the UTTLOB, shed the light on reform efforts in the area of judiciary and the rule of law. He agreed with the EU officials, that the new patrol police is an example of a successful reform. However, he stressed, that much remains to be done in order for the newly created anti-corruption agencies to start working. The courts and the General Prosecutor of Ukraine should also be reformed. The government must do everything in order to increase public’s confidence and trust in the law enforcement. People must be confident that their rights and freedoms will be respected and ensured.