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Αρχική 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

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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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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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