Ukraine has made significant progress in its reforms over the past year, but more needs to be done, especially with regards to the judiciary and fight against corruption, according to an Association Implementation Report published by the EU delegation to Ukraine on Friday.
The report, which was drafted by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, monitors the implementation of the commitments under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement over the past year. “Ukraine has made progress in a number of important areas over the past year, but several outstanding reforms still need to be reinforced so that Ukrainian citizens can fully reap the benefits of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area,” the statement reads.
The report notes, however, that reforms have been slower in the areas of the judiciary and anti-corruption measures, and cites the low number of high-level convictions for corruption as a cause for concern. The EU also stressed that “attacks against civil society activists need to be properly investigated and sanctioned.”
Meanwhile, EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has said that Ukraine should ensure the independence of its anti-corruption bodies and restore confidence in the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
“Ukraine needs to ensure the independence and effective functioning of all anti-corruption institutions involved in the criminal justice chain. I am very concerned about the loss of credibility of the specialized anti-corruption prosecutor who was found to have seriously violated rules of ethics, but remains in office. I would urge the Ukrainian authorities to take the necessary measures to reestablish that credibility,” Hahn told the press at a briefing in Kiev on Friday.
Hahn said that Ukraine needs to move quickly to establish an anti-corruption court since “improvement in this area contributes to greater attractiveness of Ukraine to investors if the level of corruption is going down” which in turn will boost economic growth.