Kyiv, February 23, 2016. Law № 3755 on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” in the version adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on February 16 jeopardizes the prospective of visa free regime with the EU. Because of eliminated requirements for electronic declaration of officials’ possessions. “This edition is contrary to the EU requirements. Both the EU Delegation to Ukraine and a number of specialized public organizations of Ukraine have explicitly declared this. Further movement to visa free regime with the EU will be impossible without a retrieval of the legislation on electronic declaration in the previous version,” said Mariana Kuzio, Expert of the NGO “Europe without Barriers” at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. In this regard, NGO “Europe without Barriers” “appeals to the President of Ukraine to exercise a veto on Law №3755 and to provide suggestions under the procedure, which will ensure conformance of the Law to the standard,” said Iryna Sushko, Head of the NGO “Europe without Barriers”.
According to the experts, Ukraine is currently in the stretch with visa liberalization with the European Union. Actually, this week the European Parliament has launched the Ukrainian Week, which will include negotiations among European and Ukrainian MPs. “We are just within a stone’s throw of receiving the European Council and the European Parliament legislative decision on visa-free regime in March […] We have to implement only five more recommendations, mainly relating to the anti-corruption unit,” noted Iryna Sushko. “First, we must complete forming the leadership of the National Agency for Combating Corruption and start the work of this institution in the first quarter of 2016. Second, to ensure the return of EU standards on electronic declaration of officials’ possessions to Ukrainian legislation,” explained Mariana Kuzio. Therefore, experts are seriously concerned about the adoption of the aforementioned Law № 3755 in its edition that was voted “from the voice” of MP Vadym Denysenko (Poroshenko Bloc). “This edition is contrary to the EU requirements. Both the EU Delegation to Ukraine and a number of specialized civic organizations of Ukraine have explicitly declared this. Further movement to visa free regime with the EU will be impossible without a retrieval of the legislation on electronic declaration in the previous version,” emphasized Mariana Kuzio. “The very procedure of consideration from the voice, without letting the MPs study the text and without opinions of the Verkhovna Rada Committees, is a flagrant violation of the regulations of the Verkhovna Rada. “For this reason, experts urge the President to veto this law, and MPs – to consider its conformance to the standards.
Mariana Kuzio reminded that after the adoption of all laws within the appropriate recommendations, the EU Council will hold debates. “There are both skeptics and friends in the Council. Events taking place in Ukraine and, in particular, the political crisis are not conducive to the image of Ukraine as a reliable partner that will be able to fulfill all the obligations under the visa liberalization,” she said. In addition, the experts emphasized, the delay plays against Ukraine because increase in migration risks may lead to the introduction of more stringent requirements by the EU and the existing “window of opportunity” may close. “Today we are at the end of the path and it will be a shame, if we do not get a visa-free regime because of not fulfilling just two tasks that are both useful to society and meet EU criteria,” stressed Iryna Sushko.