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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Debate on Ukraine Aid: Need for impartial Judges against Corruption hampers Economy's potential

EU Debate on Ukraine Aid: Need for impartial Judges against Corruption hampers Economy's potential

Written by ACM
Monday, 13 February 2017

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- An exceptional and Topical MEPs' Debate in EU Parliament Today pointed mainly at Judges' integrity, away from Political influences, and Committed to the Rule of Law, as a much Needed Institutional Tool also for the eradication of still endemic Corruption in Ukraine, for which EU has earmarked a lot of Grants and favorable Loans (See Infra), but without yet obtaining the desirable results, as representatives of 3 EU Institutions agreed after examining independently the developments of the relevant situation on the spot recently.

Significantly, they spoke Near the Headquarters of the PanEuropean Organisation for the Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy : the CoE, in Strasbourg, whose own Parliamentary Assembly (composed by MPs send from the National Parliaments of 47 CoE Member States, including Ukraine) is still in the process of "Monitoring" Kiev Authorities' relevant commitments, especialy on Legal Principles.


- "Judicial Review is a Key" Issue, particularly for the Fight against "Corruption", stressed EU Commission's representative Herr Wagner, speaking at an Exceptional Meeting of the competent EU Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control (COCOBU), in Strasbourg this Evening.

+ In fact, EU "Money is Available", he optimisticaly observed, but it's "Not yet Explicitly" made conditional to effective implementation of authorized EU Programs, (See also Infra), he regretted, while also Pointing at the Need for "Public Administration Reforms" and a better role for "Civil Society", etc., as relevant Factors and PreConditions for a Healthy Economic Development.

- From the Other Side, even if a recent decision to bring Gas closer to real Market Prices has brought a Burden to the Population, nevertheless, it has also managed to absorb a quasi-chronic Debt of Ukranian Gas Company in the Past, which has now become "slightly Profitable", Wagner observed.



But EU Court of Auditors' member, Scabolcs Fazakas, from Hungary, who led the collective Audit on Ukraine, acknowledged the Fact that "Corruption is Very Real" Today, with the main Problem being "Political Influence".

Relevant "Reforms are Not Implemented", while "a Lot of Bodies were set up, But, Unfortunately, we (EU) are Still Waiting for the Outcome" of their activities, he criticized.
He pointed at an almost 100 Pages-Long Official Report established by the ECA, focusing now on the 2007-2015 Period, but also in View of the 2014-2020 "EU Response" due to Total a "Package of 11,2 Billions € in the foreseable Future.



 - Indeed, "Results ....remain to be seen" concerning the "Fight against Corruption", says EU Parliament's Draft Report on EU Assistance to Ukraine, drafted by German MEP Joachim Zeller, from the Governing, ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party, who expressed "Regrets that Old Structures, ... Reluctant to Reforms, Modernisation and Democratisation prersist, while Forces Willing to Reform face Severe Difficulties".

=> In Consequence, EU must "Strengthen Monitoring" of the way that its Financial "Assistance is Implemented", he urges, including "by Suspending Payments", "where duly Justified by Lack of Satisfactory Progress in Reforms", and "make Further EU Assistance Conditional on effective Implementation of key ... Reforms", while "DisBursement conditions should be Strictly Assessed", according to his Report.

>>> In particular, a Draft Resolution "calls for a ReConstruction of the Judiciary power in the country, towards an Independent instrument Committed to the Rule of Law", mainly as part of a much Needed "Efficient Fight against the Still Widespread Corruption".

+ In Addition, "EU Assistance to Ukraine .. should be Tied with tagible efforts of the Ukranian Government ... namely top Improve the Own Resources ... through a ... Tax Scheme which does Not Only account for the Income of the Citizens, but Also the Assets of the Oligarchs".



The latest "Fact Finding Mission" which visited Ukraine on 2016, presented a Report Drafted by the President of EU Parliament's Budget Control Committtee, another German MEP of the Governing ChristianDemocrat Party, Mrs Ingebopre Graessle, from Nearby Baden-Wurtemberg, to which refered several Speakers during Today's Debate :

The "very Substantial Financial Assistance" of almost 5 Billions € earmarked by the EU for Ukraine since the 2014 Events, (composed by 3.400 Millions for MacroFinancial Assistance, 1.400 Millions € for Development and Regions, as well as 110 Millions € for Peace and Humanitarian actions), "is Not Evaluated systematically", observes Grassle, "agreeing" on this point with EU's Court of Auditors' criticism.





Particularly, on "Corruption", despite some "significant Steps", nevertheless,  "Tangibe Results" are still "Needed", she underlined.

F.ex., "2 Years After the Creation" of "3 Bodies aimed at Combating Corruption", some of them "are Still More Occupied with Staffing and Office Equipment, than ... with Fulfilling their .. Duties", COCOBU President Graessle found on the spot.

"Independence and Integrity of specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office" "Need further Improvement", while "the Ukranian Authorities have Not yet produced a Convincing Track Record of Investigations and Sanctions for High-Level Corruption Cases", her Report's main Conclusions denounce.







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The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.

- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".


 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.


- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.

    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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