Iulian Groza, #IPRE Executive Director, participaded at the #EaP Platform 1 digital meeting
Author: Iulian Groza
Attending the #EaP Platform 1 digital meeting and happy to share on behalf of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum the preliminary inputs on key post-2020 EaP priorities on strengthening accountable institutions, judicial reform, anticorruption and antifraud cooperation.
It was also a good occasion to advocate for the recommendations of 37 researchers and think-tankers from the #EU, #Georgia, #Moldova and #Ukraine presented in a Non-Paper shared at the end of October. Some of them like the Justice Dashboards for EaP countries was welcomed and taken on board by CoE and EU in their planning for 2021.
See below some of the key points:
- Beyond PAR objectives on the central and local levels, more efforts should be channelled to parliamentary development and strengthen parliaments’ oversight function.
- The new Association Agendas and Partnership Priorities should reflect more targeted and tailored joint short- to medium-term priorities to deliver on good governance, rule of law and democratic reforms.
- Welcome the CoE and EU readiness to launch in 2021 Justice Dashboards for the EaP to measure and monitor the state of play in the justice sector of countries.
- Support the implementation of Justice sector reform strategies aiming and strengthening the integrity, independence and accountability of the justice actors, targeting the consolidation of the role of Supreme Council of Magistrates and Superior Council of Prosecutors, Integrity Authorities in the process of selection and evaluation of judges and prosecutors.
- Support a genuine process for the integrity assessment of judges and prosecutors by reviewing their lifestyle and ensure that all public officials declare the real value of assets and interests.
- Strengthen the whistle-blower protection mechanism – include the awareness raising activities, namely within public institutions.
- There is a need for greater cooperation between the EU and EaP countries’ law-enforcement agencies with regard to asset recovery, financial crimes, and high-level corruption.
- Also, cooperation on cryptocurrencies legislative framework and tracking of unlawful and hybrid activities funded by money laundered via cryptocurrencies in the breakaway regions in EaP region needs to be expanded.
- The EU and EaP states should promote more effective policies and measures to discourage and exclude rent-seeking systems. In this regard it is needed better regulation, discouraging the participation of entities from offshore jurisdictions in public procurement contracts or the application of anti-fraud measures with a view to combatting and sanctioning money laundering. These reforms should be linked to rewards that the citizens can benefit from. Such a reward in the case of the EaP Associated states, could be accession to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) or full access to the EU single market.- The EU should initiate a greater strategic and operational cooperation between the new European Public Prosecutor Office and the fraud investigation bodies from EaP countries on high-level corruption cases and misspending of EU funds in the region.
- The EU could help EaP countries pursue asset recovery efforts, not least in countries like Moldova or Ukraine, where fugitive former oligarchs have amassed and expatriated significant fortunes.
- The EU could make greater use of sanctions to target corruption and corrupt practice via visa bans and account freezes on individuals reasonably believed to be personally responsible for serious human rights violations.