Archive for January 3rd, 2014


Fighting corruption – Frame as sanctions or assistance to Ukraine?

January 3, 2014

Whilst somewhat merry from the festive season and possibly having imbibed far too much Christmas spirit, my thoughts turned – as best they could – to press communiques that I would welcome relating to Ukraine, but that are very unlikely to ever see the light of day.

That despite an open – with some maneuvering – invitation to do so.  And, quite possibly, highlight the difference between (much muted) sanctions or assistance, in the framing of the issues.

On 26 December 2013, President Yanukovych announced 2014 to be the year when corruption will be tackled.  (No different to every Ukrainian president every year – and every year with no result.)

In December, President Putin also bemoaned corruption (again).

Easily dismissed as the annual window dressing to public concern over the issue – yet 2014 is unlikely to be a standard year in Ukraine.

We now have Greece holding the EU Presidency.  A nation not unknown for its corruption, though at least some action regarding corrupt politicians and bureaucrats is occurring and laundered cash returned to the State.

Switzerland, now holding the OSCE Chairmanship, is not unknown for its banking services being misused by the corrupt.

Would it not be refreshing to now see an EU communique – with real will and implementation behind it – that read something like this:

The European Commission/European Parliament/European Council/Europol (delete as appropriate), as partners of Ukraine, recognise and fully support the recently announced anti-corruption policy of President Yanukovych.  

We hear and recognise the voice of the Ukrainian people in their desire to combat corruption.  

We understand the corrosive effect on the Ukrainian economy and the region.  It is a challenge to every nation and every international and regional organisation.  We shall endeavour to encourage the chairs of all such entities both regionally and globally to assist Ukraine in this just pursuit.

As reliable partners, the EU shall unwaveringly support the anti-corruption policy of the President of Ukraine, as supported by the people of Ukraine, and use every legal instrument available to pursue those that misuse the European infrastructure.

Unlikely as something above would be released and/or implemented, would it not give pleasure to a great many Ukrainians to see the political elite of any colour (and those that surround them) hoisted by the president’s own petard?

With a few results across the political and business spectrum, maybe it would raise EU popularity amongst society a little?  It may at least keep the EU relevant and headline news amongst the elite and society as assets are frozen and/or repatriated etc.

Perhaps more to the point, how can the EU refuse to take up what can be seen an inferred invitation to help President Yanukovych fight Ukrainian corruption?  When it is a domestic flagship policy in 2014 for a regional partner, it would be rude not to do so wouldn’t it?

It certainly removes the need for such things to be seen as “sanctions” against certain individuals,  when “assisting Ukraine” in this rightful cause.

There is no need to throw yet more aid money at this particular cause, for it has never worked.  Why not actually help directly, and where the EU can, with effective implementation of law where the EU has jurisdiction,  as any partner would?

Yes I recognise this post is written with a good deal of sherry induced sarcasm – and that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit – but it is that time of year for both drinking and dreams.

Right, back to the sherry!

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