Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

EU to launch Ukraine anti-corruption scheme

The European Union is about to unveil a comprehensive anti-corruption programme for Ukraine in a last effort to fight back against graft.

According to one EU source involved in the planning, EU commissioner for enlargement Johannes Hahn will make the announcement on Friday (16 September), during the Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting (YES) in Kyiv.

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A commission spokesperson confirmed that Mr Hahn will attend the conference, but wouldn't go into details.

"Commissioner Hahn will meet a number of ministers during the course of his two-day visit in order to discuss progress across a range of reform commitments made by Ukraine. He will visit EU funded projects and will attend the YES conference," the spokesperson said.

The anti-corruption scheme is worth €16 million, will take off on 1 January 2017 and span three years.

It will be based on four pillars: building and developing institutions to fight corruption; strengthening parliamentary oversight; working with local governments; and supporting civil society organisations and investigative journalists, who are already at the forefront of the battle.

The programme will operate from an EU office in Kiev and it will be implemented by Denmark. The world’s least corrupt country, according to Transparency International’s index, hopes to lend credibility to the project. The same ranking puts Ukraine at 130th position of 168 - making it the most corrupt country in Europe.

The Baltic states, Poland and Romania may also contribute, the EU source said, by sharing their experiences of transition from post-communist to democratic states.

This winter will mark three years since the Maidan revolution, which ousted Ukraine's corrupt president Viktor Yanukovych.

But corruption still permeates everyday life, bureaucracy and politics, according to the official.

That has stalled a deal for Ukrainians to get visa-free travel in the EU.

The EU’s move comes as the Netherlands is likely to relaunch the debate on Ukraine’s trade-association deal with the EU.

The pact was voted down earlier this year in a referendum, and the Dutch government has since ignored the issue.

But one EU official told this website the Dutch were likely to seek to settle the matter soon so that it doesn’t interfere with the next general elections, which will take place no later than 15 March.

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