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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

Parašė ACM
Monday, February 13, 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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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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