Corruption remains endemic in Ukraine and is an impediment for its democratic and economic development. Supporting efforts to combat corruption in Ukraine is a foundation for Danish and EU support to Ukraine. European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI) co-funded and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark consolidates efforts directed at assisting Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts.
The overall objective of the EU and Danish funding for anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine is to improve implementation of anti-corruption policy in Ukraine, thereby ultimately contributing to a reduction in corruption.
EU Anti-Corruption Initiative is the biggest EU support programme in the area of anti-corruption in Ukraine so far. The initiative with a duration of three years is supported by the European Commission with and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark with a total budget of €15.84 million. The EU Anti-Corruption Initiative is aimed to strengthen the capacity of the newly created anti-corruption institutions and to enhance external oversight over the reform process by the Verkhovna Rada, civil society and the media.
The project has three main components:
- strengthening the operational and policy-making capacities of state institutions dealing with the prevention and fight against corruption
- strengthening the Parliament’s oversight of reform implementation and its capacity to scrutinize and improve the strategic legislative framework
- enhancing the capacity of local, civil society and media to contribute to the fight against corruption
Component 1 entails support to six key agencies in Ukraine that are dealing with corruption from a diversity of positions:
- prevention (the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, NACP)
- investigation of high-level corruption (the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, NABU)
- prosecution (the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, SAPO)
- assets recovery and management (the Assets Recovery and Management Agency, ARMA)
- collection, analysis and disseminating information regarding potential money laundering and suspected proceeds of crime (the State Financial Monitoring Service, SFMS)
- adjudication of TOP-corruption cases by High Anti-Corruption Court.
The purpose of Component 1 is to provide support to the agencies which have the mandate to tackle corruption but still lack capacity, expertise and IT tools necessary to take a comprehensive, coordinated and targeted approach to counter the widespread corruption at the high levels of government.
The programme’s design allows for a two-track approach to sustaining and supporting the newly established anti-corruption bodies. First, assisting them with emergent needs, contributing to their more rapid development so as to produce immediate results. Second, assisting them with strategic thinking, planning and development, taking a broader and more long-term perspective so that they set action priorities, and escape the “emergency mode” in which they have been operating.
It has been understood by the EUACI office, from the beginning, that the technical support provided by the programme would be most appropriate if it is demand-driven, result-oriented and sustainable (having a long-term effect).
Component 2 focuses on enhancing the role of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction (the 'Committee') in improving the anti-corruption legislation and exercising parliamentary oversight over the implementation of anti-corruption reform. The component aims to both enhance the national capacity and ensure greater involvement of international stakeholders in anti-corruption efforts of Ukraine. For this upon the request from the Verkhovna Rada EUACI has envisaged the creation of the International Anti-corruption Advisory Board (IACAB). The Board is to consist of up to 7 recognized foreign anti-corruption experts in the areas of both enforcement and prevention.
IACAB will assist the Committee with:
- expertise on specific anti-corruption issues and problems related to draft legislation under scrutiny by the Committee
- monitoring and evaluating the implementation of anti-corruption policies and legislation
- reviewing the overall progress in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of high-level corruption cases (without going into the substance of specific cases).
In order to limit the risk of political manipulation and ensure coherence with the EU's overall political line vis-à-vis Ukraine, IACAB would not conduct any communication or advocacy activities, in particular not publish its reports or hold press conferences. Meetings of the Board would not be public. The Board will instead report to the Committee which is the main beneficiary of the Component 2.
It is expected that by having an international panel of experts who can assess, consistently advice, provide recommendations and monitor implementation, the national efforts in eliminating corruption will be greatly enhanced.
Component 3 focuses on combatting corruption at the local and regional level as well as on enhancing the voice of rights holders, including youth. A key element of component 3 is the application of the concept of ‘Integrity Cities’. This component aims at showcasing how application of several mutually supportive AC interventions can limit the corruption risks and enhance accountability in a selected number of medium-sized cities. Moreover, the aim is to disseminate the success stories throughout the country and to feed the lessons learned into programmes and reform-packages at the national.
As a part of the Ukrainian reform process EUACI will assist local governments to minimise the risk of corruption – and to establish sound and transparent procedures and innovative solutions, which will enhance efficiency and integrity – as well as allowing citizens, local level civil society, and journalists to monitor the local administrations. The local governments also need assistance in communicating initiatives and results within anti-corruption and raise awareness in the local context.
EUACI will strengthen the capacity of local civil society to effectively preform local level civic oversight. That includes capacity on how to enter into dialogue with local authorities, capacity within the field of communication, as well as technical capacity on how to examine local budgets and databases and administrative practices. In case of the latter, civil society will often depend on and benefit from cooperation with investigative journalists that are able to scrutinise, document and report on corrupt practices. Strengthening investigative journalism will thus contribute to enhancing civic oversight.