EU gives Ukraine to-do list — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
Kyiv needs a new wave of reforms if it is to make progress on European Union membership, senior official says
Kyiv needs to implement more reforms and make the new institutions work if it is to progress towards EU membership, the union’s top leader has told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the country’s lawmakers.
“The next steps are within your reach. But they will require hard work, determination and, above all, unity of purpose,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Friday in a video address to a special session of the Ukrainian parliament.
The EU official spared no compliments to Ukrainian lawmakers and its leader, praising them for standing up to Russia on the battlefield and gaining EU candidate status, which she says , demanded kyiv. « to show all that Ukraine has achieved » since the 2014 armed coup in Kyiv, which she named “Dignity Revolution” as post-coup authorities also tend to call it.
Thank you President @ZelenskyyUA for inviting me to address this extraordinary session of @ua_parliament« The Ukrainians are fighting back with courage. Europe will do everything in its power to help Ukraine win this war. And we will not rest until you win. https://t.co/fQgNeN9ryy
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) July 1, 2022
She promised massive Western investment to help with the country’s eventual reconstruction, but said Ukraine must implement « a new wave of reforms » ensure that foreign aid is spent effectively.
The EU leader called on President Zelensky to appoint new heads of various anti-corruption bodies, which were created under Western pressure, as soon as possible.
“You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine, but now these institutions need teeth and the right people in leadership positions,” she says.
The country needs to adopt new legislation on the appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, von der Leyen said. In 2020, Zelensky had a bitter feud with the highest court, which he accused of protecting corruption. The president tried to have Chief Justice Aleksandr Tupitsky fired through a law that the court said violated the country’s constitution.
Zelensky eventually succeeded in ousting Tupitsky from office – allegedly by physically restricting his access – but the remaining justices refused to accept two new court members, whom the president appointed to replace the chief justice and another judge.
In his speech, von der Leyen called on the Ukrainian government to curb the influence of « oligarchs » on the Ukrainian economy, mentioning that the country has a rare special law aimed at this objective.
The controversial bill, which passed last September and took effect this week, authorized the President-controlled National Security Council to officially label wealthy people as « oligarchs » and subject them to various restrictions. These appointees are not allowed to own media or fund political parties and are required to notify state officials of their listing.
Another task entrusted by the EU executive to the Ukrainian legislator was to adopt a new media law. The Zelensky government has banned several opposition media outlets in the country, claiming they broadcast Russian propaganda. That crackdown came last year as the president’s approval rating waned.
Amid the ongoing conflict with Russia, Ukraine’s Security Council banned many opposition parties, which it labeled pro-Russian, including the one with the largest faction in parliament after Zelensky’s.
“You have kept your state and your democracy going against all odds,” von der Leyen told Ukrainian officials. She promised that Brussels would stand by the country « every step of the way as long as it takes » as Ukraine strives to become a member of the EU.