Office Holds its First Debates in the European Parliament

On the 1st March 2016 during the Ukraine Week in the European Parliament the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels (the Office) in cooperation with EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee and the European Endowment for Democracy held the Debates “Verkhovna Rada and Civil Society: Collaboration for Reforms in 2016”.

Members of the Verkhovna Rada and the Ukrainian experts from partner and member-organisations of the Office took part in the Debates.

Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director at European Endowment for Democracy, in the opening remarks emphasized that Ukraine has launched important reforms:

Strong civil society in Ukraine it is the main force of the change

DSC01194Dr. Olena Prystayko, Executive Director at the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels, agreed that civil society and the government, particularly Verkhovna Rada, are the main promotors of the reforms. She also noted that more effective reforms might be achieved once the dialogue of the Parliament and the civil society would be reinforced.

Ostap Semerak, First Deputy Head at the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on European Integration, Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Delegation to the EU-Ukraine PAC, agreed on the importance of close cooperation of the Parliament and civil society in order to harmonize Ukrainian and European law.

Untitled-6Dr. Prof. Yevhen Bystrytskyy, Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation, elaborated on the contribution of the civil society in establishing of democracy in Ukraine :

Since Maidan, civil society started to prepare legislation for the reform process and to participate actively in the process of it implementation

DSC01313Oleksandr Chernenko, Member of the Committee on Legal Policy and Justice of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, said, inter alia, that thanks to the civil society the gender proportion in the Parliament has being changed and the women increasingly participate in the work of the Parliament. Olha Aivazovska, Head of the Board, all-Ukrainian Network OPORA, on the other hand remarked that the cooperation between the civil society and the Parliament in the area of reform electoral legislation is insufficient and suggested methods of its strengthening.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze, First Deputy Head of Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine noted that the level of cooperation between parliamentarians and civil society is the highest in the history of Ukraine. This cooperation should be developed further for, inter alia, the effective implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. Dr. Prof. Ihor Burakovsky, Head of the Board at Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, agreed with Mrs. Klympush-Tsyntsadze and added that there are other important players, who influence cooperation of the Parliament and civil society, such as other international institutions and business.

Approximately a hundred of the participants, namely members of the Ukrainian Parliament and of the European Parliament, experts and the broader audience followed the Debates. In the concluding remarks, the organizers and the speakers expressed their belief that the Debates will inspire the participants to undertake the concrete steps for the further reformation of Ukraine.

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