Remarks by Ukraine's Amassador to the EU Mykola Tochytskyi during high-level conference "Implementing anticorruption reforms in Ukraine" in the European Parliament
"Fight against corruption was among main requirements of the Ukrainian people during the Revolution of Dignity. We fight corruption not because the EU wants us to. Eliminating this post-soviet evil is the cornerstone for the success of our country and its European future.
Over the last 4 years Ukraine managed to completely overhaul its anti-corruption policy and establish the brand new anti-corruption infrastructure from the scratch.
This is the most restrictive and comprehensive institutional and legislative framework on fighting corruption in Europe. It is true, the reforms take time and not everything goes smoothly. But in comparison European states spent much more time to achieve similar goals.
Implementation of VLAP and its 144 criteria also played an important role in achieving these results.
I would like to briefly remind you about the key steps made by Ukraine to pursue its anticorruption reforms.
From scratch we created new state bodies to combat corruption - National Anticorruption Buro, Special Anticorruption Prosecution, National Agency for Preventing Corruption. This is the foundation of the corruption prevention mechanism. New bodies show practical results in fight against corruption. And it is not about low-level corruption, but corruption of top officials, including for example members of parliament and judges.
Ukraine successfully launched an e-declaration system. It is by far the strictest in Europe and has no analogues throughout the world. This system provides both law-enforcement agencies and civil society with necessary tools to find possible corruption or illegal enrichment of any civil servant. The society has got control over about 1,2 mln officials.
Ukraine has created new system of public procurements Prozzoro. It totally eliminated possibilities for corruption in the public procurement sphere and allowed the state to save dozens of billions for budget. The system was recognized as being among the best such systems in the world.
The energy sector for decades used to be the major source of corruption. Now Naftogas has become one of the key contributor to the State budget.
Introduction of electronic VAT refund system ended abuses in this area. Dozens of so called “tax playground” or “conversion centres” created under former leadership have been closed. The cleaning of the banking system eliminated corruption in financial sphere.
One of key elements in our fight against corruption is privatization. On March 7, new Law on privatization entered into force. Its goal is to ensure efficient, open and competitive privatization of state-owned assets. As of today, about 20 major state-owned enterprises across various industries are up for privatization.
The launch of the e-services portal is another important step. This allows to obtain documents from the state registers online and precludes influence by corrupt officials.
For the first time well-known names are prosecuted for corruption. The Verkhovna Rada made a record in stripping immunity of its members. And this is not only about opposition but also the representatives of governing coalition.
An important side result – the self cleaning of the judicial system. Several thousands of judges resigned for different reasons. They found it impossible to work under the new strict conditions.
During the last couple of years PGO, NABU, SBU, Ministry of interior conveyed to the courts more than 5 000 criminal anticorruption proceedings. More than 1600 people have been convicted.
Ukraine’s anticorruption strategy is not concentrated predominantly on punitive measures. The success depends first of all on the elimination of sources of corruption, such as overregulation, unclear legislation, non-transparent public procurement systems. This is where we make the most efforts.
Of course the work is not finished yet and the corruption is not fully conquered.
Ukraine created completely new Supreme Court in transparent manner with active participation of NABU. We also are in the process of reevaluation of judges of first and second instances, also in close cooperation with anticorruption bodies.
The key priority today is the establishing of the High Anti-corruption court. The President Poroshenko submitted a draft law which was adopted in first reading. It is important now to continue the work on the bill within parliamentary procedures with participation of all stakeholders, including civil society. Thus we will be able to create the very first success story on anti-corruption courts in the world. This court should be based on the opinion of the Venice Commission and in line with the Ukrainian Constitution and national legislation.
We sincerely appreciate international anti-corruption assistance, in particular of the EU, and the work of international experts who in practice help our experts to combat corruption.
In combating corruption we also rely on our active civil society which plays a critical role and contribute to anti-corruption policy.
I am sure that with consolidated joint efforts we can achieve ultimate success of Ukraine in anti-corruption sphere. Ukraine is on the right way. We are not going to stop or slow down but continue systematic work in tackling corruption.
We have a very busy agenda but I am optimistic about the successful future of Ukraine".