Ukraine needs to adopt anti-corruption strategy, appoint SAPO head, complete judicial reform – EU ambassador
Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine Matti Maasikas stresses the need for Ukraine to create a "road map" for a real fight against corruption, complete judicial reform and ensure maximum transparency in the selection of new leaders of anti-corruption bodies.
On Thursday, in Kyiv, during the conference "Seven Years of Anti-Corruption Reform", timed to coincide with the International Day against Corruption, he noted that Ukraine has made significant progress in the formation of anti-corruption infrastructure.
"Like many reform contexts, there are pushbacks, however this must be also understood that [...] anticorruption institutions have started delivering tangible results. Strategic results will be needed to fully sustain the results. You can be sure that the European Union stands with it and will continue to provide full political and technical support," Maasikas said.
"Today I am speaking here, while Russia is building up its troops along Ukraine's borders. I want to repeat that we certainly support Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. But Ukraine, despite these [geopolitical] challenges is an important partner at the global stage," the ambassador said.
In this context, he drew attention to the fact that Ukraine should "make anti-corruption agenda." "To work even more closely with civil society, to start developing a zero tolerance narrative for corruption [...] Further the anticorruption reform to improve the investment climate, and we will support Ukraine in making them," Maasikas said.
In particular, he said, it is very important to focus on sectoral reforms in order to reduce corruption in the energy and defense sectors.
"Unfortunately, Ukraine remains without a strategic policy document and action plan for the implementation of its anticorruption reforms," the ambassador said.
He said the anti-corruption strategy will not only offer an analysis of the fight against corruption, but also a "realistic roadmap for tackling priority problems."
"As far as the judiciary is concerned. We witnessed important steps have been taken this year. With the establishment and operation of the Ethics Council of the High Council of Justice was created and High Qualification Commission of Judges. These bodies are expected to reform other bodies that are in the center of the judicial system in Ukraine. It is important that this reform is concluded swiftly," Massikas said.
According to him, the reform of the Constitutional Court should not be delayed either.
In addition, the ambassador noted the importance of a transparent, politically distanced process for electing heads of anti-corruption agencies and the fastest completion of the competition for the post of head of the SAPO.
"Sustaining the independence and effectiveness and of NABU, SAPO, HACC, NACP [...] should be a clear priority. Guarantee for depoliticized and selection processes of leadership positions. It will be crucial that the process for the selection of a new head of SAPO will be concluded without any further delay. This not all positive experience should be taken into account while preparing selection process for a new NABU director to succeed," Massikas said.