2017 was a total failure in terms of fighting corruption. Was it? This is a mere provocation. Yes, people talk sceptical about 2017 developments. Some even say that “nothing positive happened”. However, I will focus on positive here.
So, in terms of wins, here is the updated Map of Anti-Corruption Commitments and Achievements of Ukraine developed by the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. It looks nice and filled up. But still, I could only come up with 5 achievements of 2017. If you want an extended version of all major changes of 2017, please read A Review of Anti-Corruption Developments in Ukraine in 2017 published by the CEE Legal Matters as an extended version for this post.
And one more thing. I am not going to assess enforcements here. Only laws, legislative initiatives and acts of the anti-corruption authorities. So, here is my top 5 Ukraine’s achievements in the anti-corruption area of 2017:
1. The National Agency on Preventing Corruption (the “NACP”) published the new Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2018-2020. The value of this document is to make anti-corruption changes more predictable. For example, for the next 2 years we can expect adoption of the legislation on lobbying, clarification of the list of corruption crimes and creation of a register of legal entities which have committed corruption violations. Of course, this step is positive. However, I would be not so optimistic. Based on the Analytic Report of the NACP third part of measures listed in the Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2014-2017 were not implemented as of the end of July 2017.
2. The NACP adopted the Standard Anti-Corruption Program for Legal Entities which helps companies to be in line with Ukrainian law.
3. The NACP issued a range of recommendations, which helps companies to understand various approaches of the anti-corruption authorities:
- recommendations for persons providing anti-corruption training;
- recommendations for authorities concerning the handling of whistle-blowing reports;
- recommendations concerning the prevention and regulation of conflicts of interest; and
- recommendations concerning the development and implementation of an anti-corruption programme for legal entities.
4. The Parliament extended the list of persons obliged to file E-Declarations. Positive change is that the list now includes, among others, candidates for the highest public authorities’ positions and some officers of state owned companies. Negative change is that members of anti-corruption, non-governmental organisations were also obliged to file E-Declarations. I tend to agree with Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, who commented regarding this on his Twitter: “E-Declarations should target corruption in public administration – not hamper work of civil society.”
5. Ukraine made further attempt to establish a Higher Anti-Corruption Court. In the end of 2017 the draft law “On a Higher Anti-Corruption Court” was initiated by the President, but has not yet been adopted. I am not going to analyse whether such separate court is needed at all. This topic has already been subject to a separate post Does Businesses Need an Anti-corruption Court in Ukraine?
It is not a secret, that international institutions force Ukraine to be more proactive and comply with its obligations under the loan agreements with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF loan contracts, EU Macro-Financial Assistance contracts, EU Member State Building Contracts and the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan). And this is probably why we have these victories. In my view, the speed of implementation of anti-corruption measures was not as quick as many expected. Let’s see what will be done in 2018.
Viktoria Shevchuk is a junior associate with a law firm, which is a part of well-known international chain. Her experience includes advising foreign and Ukrainian clients on development and improvement of compliance programs, and implementation of personal data protection systems based on requirements of the EU law.
She graduated from Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko university with a Master degree in Civil Law.