The EU Project Pravo-Justice and the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative officially launched at the event at Mystetskyi Arsenal with participation of Ambassador of the EU to Ukraine

17.04.2024 |

On April 16, 2024 the event “The Decade of Transformation, Towards a Future of Integrity: EU-supported Anti-Corruption & Rule of Law Reforms in Ukraine” was held at the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Art and Culture Museum Complex. The event was co-organised by the EU Project Pravo-Justice and the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative under the auspices of the European Union and marked the concurrent launch of the new phases of these two projects.

The goal of the event was to showcase Ukraine’s progress in strengthening the rule of law and fighting corruption that has been achieved by Ukraine since the Revolution of Dignity with the support of and in cooperation with the European Union. The participants of the event emphasized that the European Union has been and remains the main pillar of support in reforming the Ukrainian governance system in these sectors, while in the context of Ukraine’s gaining the EU candidate status this interaction is acquiring new content and dynamics.

After the European Council approved a decision to open negotiations on the country’s accession to the European Union Ukraine has faced new challenges in the fight against corruption and the unconditional rule of law: to ensure the sustainability and irreversibility of reforms in key areas, to harmonize national norms and rules with EU legislation within clearly specified negotiation deadlines. Ukrainian society has clearly realized the threats corruption and lack of observing the rule of law carry and is determined to combat them.

Katarína Mathernová, Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine, said that in the ten years since the Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine has proven its determination to defend its European choice and commitment to European values and principles.

“Despite the war, especially after Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, the country has been fighting heroically against the Russian aggressor while changing the country from within, achieving critical institutional reforms. Ensuring the rule of law and overcoming corruption are some of the key areas. Along with the security issues, it is corruption that raises the greatest concern among Ukrainians. The European Union has supported Ukraine and Ukrainians in this work for the past decade and will continue to do so on its path to membership in the European Union. The European Union is interested in a Ukraine with strong values and effective institutions,” she pointed out during opening remarks.

In her turn, Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, stated that Ukraine has consistently shown its commitment to democratic values on its path to membership in the European Union. “Since submitting the application for EU membership at the most difficult moment in our history, and despite the challenges no other candidate state has faced, we have maintained a high pace of reforms. All the recommendations of the European Commission for the start of accession negotiations to the EU have been fulfilled. Specifically, key bodies of the judicial system have been rebooted, and anti-corruption institutions have been strengthened. For the first time in the history of Ukraine, judges of the Constitutional Court are selected in an open and transparent competition. Mandatory asset declaration for officials has been restored and a risk-oriented approach to financial monitoring of politically exposed persons (PEPs) has been introduced. The law on lobbying has been adopted,” she said.

During presentations, panel discussions, and networking, key experts from the EU Anti-Corruption Initiative and the EU Project Pravo-Justice presented the results of the two previous phases and a review and tasks of phase III of both projects, which have been launched in Ukraine. They noted that the context of their activities has changed radically since the start of Russia’s full-scale war, but along with new goals, work on key tasks continues.

Representatives of the EU Project Pravo-Justice shared information about the support provided for the implementation of reforms in the justice sector on Ukraine’s path to the EU, and emphasized that after the start of the full-scale invasion, the team also changed the priorities of its activities and added new areas, such as the investigation of war crimes. The project allocated €1 million to effectively and quickly respond to the requests of beneficiaries ad hoc. Since February 2022, about 30 requests have been considered – from issues of material and technical support to the IT audit of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System (UJITS) .

At the beginning of 2024, phase III of the EU Project Pravo-Justice started, and it will also be adapted to the context. It is about promoting accountability for international and war crimes, further judicial transformations including enforcement, and supporting the EU integration process of justice sector institutions. It is planned to expand cooperation with public organizations and continue to develop the EU Project Pravo-Justice as a coordination platform for bodies and institutions of the justice system of Ukraine.

“As we inaugurate the third phase of EU Project Pravo-Justice, our commitment to sustaining judiciary transformation, ensuring accountability for international crimes, and advancing European integration processes in the rule of law domain remains steadfast. Together, we strive towards a future where justice knows no borders and the principles of fairness and accountability stand as pillars of our collective efforts,” said Oksana Tsymbrivska, Team Leader of the EU Project Pravo-Justice, during her speech.

The key efforts of EUACI at the new stage will be directed at:

  • ensuring adherence to the principles of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the processes of reconstruction;
  • supporting EU integration in the area of the fight against corruption, including steps that will bring Ukraine closer to the EU;
  • promoting the sustainability of anti-corruption infrastructure and guarantees that EUACI partners can continue to work during the war and after Ukraine’s victory.

“Our team has contributed to great achievements since 2017, when the EUACI began its work in Ukraine. The anti-corruption bodies that have been established and the principles of integrity and transparency that have been introduced saved millions of hryvnias for the state. Corrupt high-level officials that in the past were untouchable, are now ending up in the High Anti-Corruption Court. Some end up behind bars. In the new phase of the EUACI, we will focus on supporting transparency and integrity of the process of Ukraine’s reconstruction. Another ambitious goal is the preparation for European integration in the areas of fighting and preventing corruption. This work will require even more experts and resources, and even more powerful support from the public and the media,” said Allan Pagh Kristensen, Head of EU Anti-Corruption Initiative.