Poroshenko Hosts EU’s Juncker, Tusk in Kyiv

July 17, 2017

President Poroshenko welcomed the European Union’s duo of presidents on Thursday (Jul 13), Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission and Donald Tusk of the European Council, at the annual EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv. The public declarations of the summit were largely dedicated to affirmation of Poroshenko’s dedication to implementing the details of Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU, which was finally ratified by the European Council last week, more than 3 years after its signing.  

A major flap in Ukraine’s civil society community developed after Juncker said that the European Commission has decided to drop its demand that Poroshenko set up a special “anti-corruption” court system. Instead, Juncker said it would be sufficient to employ “anti-corruption chambers” within the already-existing court system. This change of tack drew quick criticism from, among others, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Agency (NABU), leading to the somewhat absurd situation of Ukrainian entities rebuking the EU for being too soft on Ukrainian corruption. Indeed, one of the main complaints against Poroshenko is that he and his allies are able to manipulate the judiciary for their own political and business benefit, suggesting that the only way to circumvent such influence is to set up an entirely new body. This view is supported by the relative success of NABU, which is Ukraine’s first law enforcement organization with real national power that is not beholden to the central authorities.

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