Ukraine: EU report notes important steps taken in implementing reform agenda – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology
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In front of EU-Ukraine Association Council scheduled for 5 September, the European Union today published its annual report Association Implementation Report on Ukraine. The report describes Ukraine’s implementation of reforms under the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement covering the period since the last report published on December 1, 2020 and until the start of Russia’s military aggression on February 24, 2022.
“Despite the challenges, including those coming from Russia, Ukraine has taken important steps in the implementation of the Association Agreement. The reforms undertaken so far within this framework allow Ukraine to approach calmly the new phase of its relations with the EU following the decision of the European Council on the status of candidate country of Ukraine. The illegitimate and unprovoked military aggression of Russia against Ukraine will not prevent the EU to support Ukraine’s reform program. said High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell.
Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivier Varhelyiadded: “In 2021, Ukraine continued its journey of reform and European integration. Following the decision of the European Council to grant Ukraine the prospect of EU membership and the status of candidate country, Ukraine must continue its reforms, in particular in the field of justice and rule of law, the fight against corruption and fundamental rights. This includes the adoption and implementation of legislation on a selection procedure for judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the adoption of a comprehensive strategic plan for the reform of the law enforcement sector as well as as the finalization of the reform of the legal framework for national minorities and the adoption of effective implementation mechanisms. . The EU will continue to support Ukraine on its European path and to associate it with post-war reconstruction efforts.”
The report finds that during the reporting period, Ukraine has been challenged by Russia’s destabilizing actions, the conflict in the east and the coronavirus pandemic. The report underlines that Ukraine has nevertheless continued to prioritize association and deeper integration with the EU, and that despite these challenges, key reforms have gained new momentum.
In the region of justice, rule of law and the fight against corruption, several positive developments have taken place, including the adoption of key laws aimed at reforming the High Council of Justice (HCJ) and reviving the High Commission for the Qualifications of Judges (HQCJ). Among the important outstanding challenges is the urgent reform of the Constitutional Court (CCU). A new National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) Act has been passed, establishing a much-needed clear legal framework for the office. The selection process for the new head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) was unsuccessful. The High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) continued its strong track record and a whistleblower protection law was passed. Another important step was taken in the reform of Ukraine’s system for combating serious economic and financial crimes with the creation of the Bureau for Economic Security (BES).
A new public administration reform strategy has been adopted by the government in accordance with the principles of the OECD and European public administration, and merit-based recruitment in the civil service has been reinstated.
Government intervention in the management of state-owned energy company Naftogaz has raised concerns about continued state enterprise (SOE) corporate governance reform. A new draft law on corporate governance of state-owned enterprises passed its first parliamentary reading in July 2021. It aims to align Ukrainian legislation with OECD guidelines.
The Ukrainian financial sector remained profitable despite the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. However, developments in National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) continued concerns about central bank independence and banking supervision.
In the energy In this area, the wholesale electricity market in Ukraine continued to operate with some signs of market distortion and manipulation. The strategic goal of connecting the Ukrainian power grid to the continental European CEN grid (grid synchronization) was a top priority for Ukraine in the electricity sector and enabled the eventual connection to the grid on March 16, 2022.
Overall, there has been little progress in environmental reforms in 2021. However, in the area climate action, Ukraine adopted and presented its Nationally Defined Contribution to the Paris Agreement and its National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. A targeted dialogue between the EU and Ukraine on the EU Green Deal and Ukraine’s Green Transformation was launched and two extended working sessions were held in Brussels and Kyiv.
Ukraine has continued to make significant progress in the area of digital transformation. Ukraine adopted the Law on the Telecommunications Regulator, an important step in aligning its legislation with the EU acquis. Digital transformation has already helped to make government more efficient and transparent and to fight corruption.
4th gear under Visa suspension mechanism (COM(2021) 602 final) of 4 August 2021 concluded that, overall, Ukraine continues to meet the visa liberalization criteria and has taken steps to address previous recommendations. However, further efforts are needed, particularly in the areas of the fight against corruption, money laundering and the prevention and fight against organized crime.
The European Union will continue to support Ukraine in its comprehensive reform programme.
The Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, entered into force on 1 September 2017. It promotes closer political ties, stronger economic ties and the respect for common values, and forms the basis of cooperation and cooperation between the EU and Ukraine. EU support for reforms in Ukraine.
On February 28, 2022, Ukraine submitted its application for EU membership. On 17 June, the European Commission presented its opinion on Ukraine’s candidacies, recommending that the Council offer Ukraine the prospect of EU membership and candidate status, on the understanding that a number of measures are being taken. On June 23, the European Council recognized Ukraine’s European perspective and granted it the status of candidate country. The European Council invited to report on the fulfillment of the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinions on the respective applications for membership under its “enlargement” package.