Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 19 March 2015
Although facing dire consequences of the Russian aggression, the President and the Government of Ukraine stay committed to the path of comprehensive reform process in the country, assisted by international organizations and OSCE participating States. I would like to briefly update the OSCE Permanent Council on the matter.
Last week the Government of Ukraine marked 100 days since it was formed following parliamentary elections in October 2014. Just as the early presidential elections, held in May 2014, they were internationally recognized as free, fair and democratic and produced an unprecedented political unity between the President, the Parliament and the Government on the vision of implementation of reforms aimed at European integration, democratization and modernization of Ukraine.
Decentralization and strengthening of the local communities’ rights and competences remain among the top tasks to which the authorities invest substantial efforts. The legislative steps taken in January-February this year, in particular changes to the Budgetary Code and Laws “On Basic Principles of State Regional Policy” and “On Voluntary Unification of Territorial Communities”, have already provided the Ukrainian regions and local communities with additional resources and development incentives.
As decentralization, along with a number of other reform priorities, requires constitutional changes the President established on 3 March a Constitutional Commission as an advisory body with broad representation of political parties and regional elites, civil society, experts and relevant international organizations. The Commission has been mandated to elaborate agreed proposals to improve the Basic Law of Ukraine. Organizational modalities provide for full transparency of the Commission’s work, including media coverage.
Judiciary reform was given a further impetus with the adoption on 12 February of the Law on Ensuring the Right to a Fair Trial aimed at strengthening independence and transparency of the Ukrainian judiciary as well as ensuring equality of the citizens before the law and court. The law incorporated over 50 recommendations of the Venice Commission, the Consultative Council of the European Judges and other international organizations.
Fight against corruption remains on the top of the agenda of the Ukrainian authorities. The establishment of National Anti-Corruption Bureau with strong law-enforcement mandate and independent status will spearhead the efforts towards combating corruption in higher echelons of governance in Ukraine. The special commission now finalizes the short list of candidates for the position of Head of the Bureau and will submit it to the President for final appointment. The Bureau’s activities have been underpinned by anti-corruption legislation packages, adopted in October 2014 and February 2015 respectively.
Reform of the law-enforcement aiming to fundamentally transform the Soviet-style repressive bodies into institutions of protection of citizens, their rights and freedoms, is underway. On 12 February the Parliament of Ukraine amended a number of Ukrainian laws related to the law enforcement to launch the reform of the Ministry of Interior. Pilot project of a police patrol service, as initial step towards establishment of the National Police, proceeds to practical implementation.
Simplification of business procedures has already resulted in improving Ukraine’s Doing Business ranking by 16 points. The number of taxes was cut from 22 to 11, inspections of small business were cancelled for 2 years, a tax compromise was offered to businesses which aim to legitimize their work. The number of regulatory agencies was decreased from 56 to 28 and licensing was cancelled for 26 types of business activities. Since 12 February a pilot system of online public procurement, eliminating the corruption schemes and impediments for business, has been launched in Ukraine.
The Government of Ukraine consistently aims to further facilitate dialogue and interaction between authorities and the citizens, thus strengthening democracy and good governance. The mechanism of online appeals and petitions, elaborated now in Ukraine, will contribute to achieving this goal. The President of Ukraine has already submitted to the Parliament relevant draft legislation.
Let me conclude this overview by reiterating Ukraine’s commitment to the process of profound transformations that will consolidate democracy and the rule of law, enhance protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and strengthen good governance.
We highly appreciate the strong support of our reform efforts by the OSCE community.
Thank you, Mr.Chairman.