Ukraine has made more progress in tackling corruption and reforming government institutions in the last three years since the Revolution of Dignity than in the previous 23 years. And we have achieved all of this under the most challenging of circumstances: while fighting a Russian-led war that has cost thousands of lives, and with a Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula and the Donbas region crippling our economy.
In 2014 Ukrainian nation has been faced with the negative trends: corruption, inefficient judicial system, exhausted financial system and dysfunctional army. Since the Revolution of Dignity Ukrainian people decided to achieve changes inside the country.
The challenge for Ukraine has probably been greater than for any other country. It is building a modern functioning democratic state from a starting point of being the most embedded state in the former and now defunct Soviet Union. And in the last three years when it has made most progress it has had to fight a war with Russia and its proxies in the east while at the same time losing the Crimea to illegal annexation.
Anticorruption reforms achievements
Ukraine has set up the new anticorruption institutions and adopted legislation on anticorruption, which it is starting to implement. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) – a new law-enforcement agency – started the first investigations of high-level corruption cases in December 2015.
The National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) is operational since early 2016. NAPC took over from the Ministry of Justice the function of coordinator of the anti-corruption policy in Ukraine. NAPC focuses on political corruption (financing of political parties), monitoring of conflict of interest, and is in charge of the state policy of corruption prevention.
The creation of the new State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and a new High Anti-Corruption Court is still outstanding. It will unite investigative functions on crimes committed by law-enforcement, high-level officials and officers of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s office.
On 15 August 2016, Ukraine launched a new electronic tax declaration system, as a tool to increase transparency and curb corruption in the country.
The openness and transparency of this system is unprecedented not only for Ukraine but for almost any other western democracy.
Justice reforms achievements
Ukraine launched comprehensive reform of justice to prevent conflict of interest, enhance ethics code & fight corruption.
We are currently evaluating the qualifications and integrity of all judges in Ukraine, and removing those who do not meet the new standards. This process is going to take some time, but it will go a long way to improving the rule of law in Ukraine, and public confidence in the administration of justice.
On June 2, 2016 the Parliament adopted amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in the judiciary field. It significantly speeds up processes of restarting judiciary branch in Ukraine under new ethnic and professional rules.
The Law “On the Judiciary and Status of Judges” strengthens the existing measures in preventing conflict of interest, enhances ethics code and foresees the establishment of the anti-corruption court in Ukraine.
The selection process for the new Supreme Court judges is to be established in March 2017.
New principles of formation and work of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges are widely implemented. Judges are subject to new trainings, tests and updated professional requirements.
Economic development and trade opportunities
Ukraine is mainstreaming the most innovative public procurement system in Europe (ProZorro) which has been recognized internationally for its effectiveness in reducing the potential for corruption in the awarding of public contracts and saving for country $millions of public funds through efficiency savings.
Prozorro won a prestigious World Procurement Award in May 2016 and was named as the best procurement system in the world according Open Government Awards.
Ukraine has climbed from 112th to 80th in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking. It is a large improvement in 2,5 years, to climb by 32 positions. The current rank shows that we are moving in the right direction. Moreover, Ukraine is 30th in starting a business ranking out of 189 economies.
Within the tax reform in 2015/16, Ukrainian government introduced a number of measures to encourage businesses: it reduced the number of taxes from 22 to 11, decreased the number of tax reporting forms and administrative regulations and introduced unified and transparent rules for all commercial entities.
Since 1 August, the public procurement system ProZorro has been mandatory for all public sector contracts, and we’ve been able to join the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. We’ve also been able to offer support for Ukrainian exporters who are trying to enter public procurement markets abroad, and we have a team working with the EU on harmonizing our procurement standards.
Total trade between the EU and Ukraine increased by 7.5 % in the period October 2015 — September 2016.
Energy efficiency and environment protection
A new Gas Market Law entered into force on 1 October 2015
Ukraine has made significant progress in reforming its energy markets. We deregulated the price of gas, since the ability to manipulate the price of gas was a key source of corruption.
On the energy issue Ukraine is dealing with European countries and their economies, in the meantime we have reduced our gas consumption and are no longer buying gas from Russia. This move helps us protect our ability to shape our own future — and it makes us a stronger partner for the EU and the transatlantic community.
National security and defense reform achievements
Ukraine is rebuilding and reshaping the power of national army.
State expenses on defense were substantially increased: from 960 million Euro in 2014 to 1.6 billion Euro in 2015 and almost 2,3 billion Euro in 2016. The expenses on defense in the state budget in 2017 are 3% of GDP.
The trust of Ukrainians in the army increased to 63% from 45% in 2015.
In 2014 157 000 soldiers were in UAF. Until the end of 2016 the number increased to 250 000 soldiers. It is more than in Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Only within the first week of November this year 1600 soldiers joined the UAF according to the contract.