The Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine finally came fully into force on September 1 and recent events have transformed a bureaucratic text into a symbol of the changes that many Ukrainians are striving for, note Volodymyr Yermolenko and Ruslan Minich, analysts at Internews Ukraine and at UkraineWorld, an information and networking initiative.
However, in the fight against corruption, progress is still slow, they write for The FT:
The EU-Ukraine Association Agenda requires anti-corruption reform; it was also one of the conditions for the EU visa waiver and IMF loans. Ukraine has established some anti-corruption institutions but they remain fragmented. Anti-corruption courts and efficient corruption prevention are lacking, and some anti-corruption activists suffer legal persecution and misinformation attacks. Other pressing issues include judicial reform, better rule of law, better taxation and healthcare, and more efficient public administration. Some of these reforms have just started. Many of them, especially of the judiciary and public administration, depend on human capital: the need to bring in new people, professional and honest, which is always the biggest challenge. Insufficient staffing at public institutions remains an important obstacle.
“Grassroots movements, political will and external pressure are needed to build institutions that serve citizens,” they add. “But despite such problems, the signs are numerous that changes are taking place and that they are irreversible. “