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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
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*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.

 
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- "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.


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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.


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 - 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".


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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.

 

 

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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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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

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After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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