BRUSSELS, February 14. /TASS/. The Ukrainian leadership "has fallen woefully short" in living up to its promises to fight corruption and carry out European reforms, says a report of the Brussels Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS).
Researchers fear this may wreck Ukraine’s EU bid and the Moldovan scenario may be repeated in Ukraine. With this in view, they advise the EU leadership to be ready to stop financing Kiev if it fails to engage in genuine reforms.
"Almost three years after the Euromaidan revolution, Ukraine’s leadership has fallen woefully short in delivering on its promises to fight against corruption within the judiciary, clean up political party financing and decentralise government functions," the report said.
"The customs service has yet to be reformed, property rights are far from being ensured and state-owned enterprises have not been privatised. Major reforms aimed at combating corruption have consistently been resisted, delayed, manipulated or appear on paper only," it added.
Reforms on paper
Commenting on statements by Ukrainian leaders about the already carried out reforms, analysts note that over the last decade (which includes the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich) "Ukraine has rarely had a problem with accepting and institutionalising European norms and rules, in theory, but successive governments have been selective in implementing them".
They mark that the Ukrainian state institutions "were never a match for the powerful domestic elites consisting of oligarchs and their political allies".
"Safeguarding one’s personal business interests takes priority over the demand to strengthen the Ukrainian state and the confidence of its citizens in it," the report said.
It also looks into all reforms that the Ukrainian authorities have brought to the end, noting however that they are also incomplete. In particular, the setting up of an electronic database for officials to declare their financial assets. The actual implementation of the system was delayed, but when the declarations were finally submitted they confirmed that " a Ukrainian who earns an average salary has to work about 125 years to make as much money as an average member of the government," which seriously undermined prestige of the people who rose to power declaring anti-corruption slogans.
"The future of the e-declaration is now under challenge by a group of Rada members who filed a case in the Constitutional Court charging that it is unconstitutional," the report said.
"The lesson for the EU is clear. Progress on paper in Ukraine should not be rewarded," it said.
" <…> the EU ought to do everything in its power to avoid a repeat in Ukraine of the sad saga that played out in Moldova. Despite the fact that the latter country has been greatly supported by the EU politically and economically, its leadership failed to address corruption and damaged not only its own credibility but that of the EU as well," the CEPS report said.
"The EU must firmly insist that the Ukrainian elite engages in genuine state-building by tackling the corruption that has consistently undermined the country’s foundations. And if the authorities do not respond appropriately, the EU should be ready to withdraw its support from Ukraine and at an earlier stage than was done in the case of Moldova," it marked.