We applaud the historic decision of the European Council to grant Ukraine EU candidate status in June. This decision recognizes the European aspirations of Ukrainians and provides Ukraine with a strong impetus to accelerate its democratic, rule of law, and anti-corruption reforms in line with European Union criteria. We believe launching Ukraine’s EU accession negotiations in 2022, the next step on its membership path will require even a stronger commitment in Kyiv to deliver on the EU conditionalities and reforms. Adoption and implementation of these democratic reforms are essential to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction process as agreed to in the Lugano Declaration. Given the strong support of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyky and his government to fulfill EU conditionalities and their endorsement of the Lugano Declaration – we feel confident that Ukraine’s democratic transformation will accelerate.
We greatly appreciate the generosity and high level of support provided to Ukraine by the EU and the Member States, US, UK, Canada, and other international partners. Such unprecedented diplomatic, military, financial, and humanitarian assistance has enabled Ukraine and Ukrainians to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression, accelerate Euro Integration, and carry out initial recovery and reconstruction efforts. However, significantly stronger international support to Ukraine in all these areas, especially military assistance, is needed now as Putin and Russia continue to commit war atrocities, destroying Ukrainian cities and towns, and seeking to prevent the country’s Euroatlantic integration progress.
We welcome the initiative by President Zelenskyy to establish the National Council for the Reconstruction of the Country from the Consequences of War – an advisory body tasked with developing a plan for the post-war rebuilding of Ukraine. At the same time, we emphasize that a transparent and accountable recovery and reconstruction process can only be ensured through the effective sustained engagement of civil society. Ukrainian citizens and civil society must be part of the decision-making process at the local, regional, and national levels.
Since the Revolution of Dignity of 2014, there is broad recognition that Ukraine has made considerable progress in adapting its legislation to EU standards and implementing democratic reforms in various areas. We believe that the continued advancement of these state-building transformations launched before Russia’s full-scale invasion must be a priority in Kyiv and across Ukraine, as they are integral to post-war recovery and further Euroatlantic integration.
To meet the expectations of the Ukrainian people and international partners, we believe it is crucial to ensure an inclusive, transparent, accountable, and multi-stakeholder recovery and reconstruction process. This entails safeguarding the independence and uninterrupted functioning of Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions, particularly the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, and the Asset Recovery and Management Agency.
There must be effective leadership in these institutions to ensure the functionality and integrity of the whole anti-corruption system and to ensure confidence, including from key stakeholders and partners, in Ukraine’s democratic reforms. We, therefore, share the opinion expressed recently by G7 Ambassadors to Ukraine and the European Commission on the critical importance of strengthening anti-corruption institutions in Ukraine.
We would also like to address the risks raised by leading Ukrainian CSOs regarding a significant delay in the appointment of the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office by the Prosecutor General.
In this regard, we call on the Ukrainian authorities to demonstrate political will and to ensure the legality of the appointment of the Head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office as well as to facilitate the selection and appointment of candidates for the Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Head of Asset Recovery and Management Agency in a timely fashion.