Three MEPs (Michael Gahler, MEP for Ukraine; Viola von Cramon, Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Association Committee; and Rasa Jukneviciene) directed the open letter to David Arahamiya, the head of the “People’s Servant” faction in the Verkhovna Rada, explaining the real threats to the Ukraine’s visa-free regime with the EU.
“About 17 months ago, President Zelensky and your team came to power with two important promises – to fight corruption and restore peace and territorial integrity … In the fight against corruption, your government gave hope in the early days. The president envisioned a ‘Ukraine of his dreams,’ where ‘teachers receive real salaries, and corrupt officials receive real prison terms.’ After 17 months, we cannot help but see that the dream is cracking, and many of these cracks are in your party, Mr. Arahamiya,” the letter states.
MEPs point out that some “People’s Servant” members spread the Kremlin disinformation, coordinate the organised attacks on independent institutions (NBU, NABU, SAP), befriend oligarchs, or publicly advocate the severance of ties with the EU.
The open letter also criticised the decline in the perception of corruption in Ukraine to the 2017 mark, the reforms reduction, the election of the SAP chairman by a commission whose members have no anti-corruption experience, reputation, high moral qualities and public authority. The appeal states that Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova blocks accusations in the cases of corrupt judges and of Health Minister Maksym Stepanov for allegedly getting a kickback amid a coronavirus pandemic, as well as in the scandalous case of selling government positions.
“All this threatens, in particular, macro-financial aid of 1.2 billion euros, not because we want it, but since the mutual agreements we have concluded with you provide for this… As for the visa-free regime, the EU does not intend to cancel this great achievement for Ukraine’s and the EU citizens anyway. However, we reserve the right to make a specific rejection of such freedoms to individual oligarchs, including politicians who abuse this right for the sake of their private illegal activities,” the MEPs declared.
To recap, the EU dissatisfaction stems from the Ukrainian authorities’ attempts to push candidates who do not have experience and integrity to the position of the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine head. Besides, certain provisions of the law on the National Anti-Corruption Bureau recognition considered to be unconstitutional by Ukraine’s Constitutional Court of Ukraine were perceived by many in the EU as pressure on anti-corruption bodies.
Informed sources claim that the European Union currently experiences a shortage of results in Ukraine’s obligations fulfilment.
As one EU official told reporters, “Ukraine is often compared to a half-full or half-empty glass. When it comes to institutions or the adoption of laws in the field of law rule, the glass is rather half full. But it is half empty when it comes to the implementation.”