French Ambassador talks about disappointment of G7 countries with state of fight against corruption in Ukraine
France, as well as other countries of the G7 (Big Seven), are disappointed with the state of the fight against corruption in Ukraine, said French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Poncins.
"I must highlight my disappointment. And it is not only my disappointment, not the disappointment of France, it is the disappointment of G7 countries. I guess you follow our Tweets. It is clear that we are frustrated about the situation, in particular when it comes to the conflict around the Constitutional Court. It is also clear that we consider the ruling of October 27 as a major setback for Ukraine’s fight against corruption, because some important aspects of the legislation was put in danger, was removed, like the provisions on the criminal responsibility for wrong e-declarations, and the one defining the powers of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. We are concerned, and for the moment, we do not see enough progress," de Poncins said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The French Ambassador noted that the reasons for the unsuccessful fight against corruption in Ukraine are the presence of interested circles, the lack of legal instruments to promote reforms and legal expertise.
"I think there are many reasons for that. Probably, there are some strong vested interests and it is difficult to remove the people at stake from power. Also probably, there is a lack of legal tools to push forward the reforms and lack of legal expertise. For example when laws are drafted they are not sufficiently well drafted to support the examination from the Constitutional Court. There is some lack of technicalities and we are ready to provide legal support. Anyway, our conclusion is that currently the situation is not satisfactory," said de Poncins.
When asked who is responsible for the lack of progress in reforms, the ambassador pointed out that these are some players in the judicial system and some oligarchs.
"I do not want to enter into a blame game. But I would say that some players of the judiciary and some oligarchs are the main obstacles for reforms at the moment. It is very difficult to reform a country if you do not have a clean judiciary with you. I do think that president Zelensky is sincerely convinced of the need of reforms and that he is pushing in that direction. But there are some very big obstacles," he said.
The diplomat stressed that to get out of this crisis, Ukraine needs a very strong political will, very strong support from the Verkhovna Rada, support from the international community, in particular the G7 and the EU.
"We will be supportive for example for the selection panel. We are ready to provide international experts to participate in those panels, to select competent and ethically adequate judges, prosecutors. We are ready to bring the technical expertise that I have mentioned before and to bring this support. If we put it all together, - political will from the top, political support from Rada - things could change in the right direction. We need a new push to reinforce efforts, this is clear," said de Poncins.