A recurring theme – Verkhovna Rada constipationSeptember 27, 2015
For those that are regularly invited to, and attend, the numerous professional conferences and forums held, there is a recurring theme – a legislative constipation within the Verkhovna Rada.
Be it Governor Saakashvili, the NBU, the Finance Ministry, the Education Ministry, (the list goes on and on), national and international experts and NGOs in whatever field, all of whom claim to have submitted draft legislation to create, correct or remove the statute that prevents them from delivering the reforms and/or policies required to improve conditions within their areas of operation, there is a continual theme of waiting for the parliament to get around to actually considering and voting upon the draft laws of so many erudite people and organisations. (People and organisations it has to be said, that are far more erudite in their specific fields than the legislators that will vote upon any draft legislation they have submitted.)
Admittedly the intestines of the Verkhovna Rada, like so much in Ukrainian officialdom, is overly bureaucratic and therefore unnecessarily slow. A need for checks and balances there must be, but a glacial legislative output there cannot be when there is so much statute to create or amend, and even more to simply repeal, in order to finally put a sword to inherited legacies, self inflicted wounds, and move forward with momentum that can be seen.
It is not as though the glacial Rada output produces quality legislation at the expense of quantity. Quality legislative emissions are few and far between despite the lack of quantity – and what little quality is emitted is then usually amended into absurdity within a few months of its passing.
As almost all of the draft legislation pending submitted by ministries, experts and civil society requires a simple majority of 226 votes to improve conditions within various sectors of Ukrainian functionality (and progress toward European/International integration/normatives), it is perhaps necessary to question why the legislative output of the Verkhovna Rada is so glacial and yet so retarded with regard to the statute it produces.
How to improve its dire performance both in quality statute and also quantity?
Is it that the often lesser minds within the Verkhovna Rada simply have to change something – anything – within any draft legislation to make it somehow more acceptable to the relevant committee? A sort of legislative autism peculiar to parliamentarians in Ukraine whereby their only way of making sense of the legislative world around them is to insure they put “their mark” upon it to make it bona fide somehow?
Even if that be the case, does that explain just how little required legislative change, no matter how seemingly minor, is actually being delivered?
How can it be that at every conference and every forum regardless of topic and regardless of speaker position, all bemoan the fact that there is relevant pending legislation preventing progress to some clearly necessary and well thought through outcomes?
The delays cannot all be blamed upon vested interests deliberately sabotaging progress, nor upon Rada committee members soliciting nefarious fees for their cooperation either.
Having signed a memorandum on 3rd July with the European Parliament that has enabled a “Needs Assessment Mission” charged with preparing a report and road map (due by the year end) relating to comprehensive reform of the Verkhovna Rada itself, it is perhaps worth pondering just how swiftly any recommendations and legislative/procedural changes will actually take when they become mired within, and subjected to, the current and clearly suboptimal system.
Perhaps the EP report and road map need become a priority 2016 reform – simply to act as a desperately needed enema that may ultimately release the continually accumulating pending draft legislation submitted by ministries, domestic and foreign experts and NGOs from within the aggravated bowels of the Verkhovna Rada?