The draft law on Donbas reintegration: pros and cons

On October 4, 2017, the text of the draft law “On the peculiarities of state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” became available in an open access. The document (known as the draft law on Donbas reintegration) which was presented on the initiative of the President of Ukraine, aims to improve the legal regulation of the situation in eastern part of Ukraine, but does not provide a set of necessary actions for achieving this goal. “Pros and cons” of the draft law “Pros”: First, the draft law, if approved by the Verkhovna Rada, will be the first document, which at the legislative level recognizes the non-controlled areas in Eastern Ukraine as temporarily occupied territories, Russia is designated as an aggressor state with regard to the situation in Donbass, and pro-Russian militants are equated to the pro-Kremlin “puppets”. Second, the draft law on Donbas reintegration eliminates legal contradictions, in particular by allowing to abolish the ATO regime and transferring management in the front lines from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to the Joint Operational Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Third, the draft law defines that state policy on ensuring Ukraine’s state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories should be based on political and diplomatic means. “Cons” of the draft law: First, despite the defined objective, the draft law does not provide specific mechanisms for the restoration of state sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories. Second, the draft law does not take into account the human dimension, particularly the mechanisms for ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens residing in non-controlled areas, such as retirement benefits, social security, administrative services etc. Consequently, serious problems can arise for Ukrainian citizens residing on these territories. Third, the preamble of this draft law refers to the evidences of Russia's aggression in Eastern Ukraine (based on the UN General Assembly resolution “Definition of Aggression”, which is a non-binding document), but ignores the undeniable facts of Russia’s aggression in Crimea. The reference to the annexation of Crimea and the inclusion of the Crimean “components” could help Ukraine achieve international recognition of Russia as an aggressor state. Four, the draft law contains a "sliding" reference to the Minsk agreements (the state authorities of Ukraine “ensure the priority of implementing the security provisions” of the Minsk agreements). Consequence, the question arises whether there is a legal contradiction in this document: the Minsk agreements recognize particular areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as a conflicting party while this draft law designates Russia as a conflicting party. Generally, the main point in the Donbas reintegration draft law is that it rather resolves operational tasks, but does not contain effective mechanisms for achieving goals of the draft law themselves, in particular the liberation of DPR/LPR-controlled territories and the protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of people, who have suffered from the armed conflict....

ICPS Press
05.10.2017

Theresa May’s Florence Speech: the Key Changes in the UK’s position on Brexit?

Official Brussels and London return to negotiations on Brexit process amid a recent stalemate. Theresa May addressed the British press pack in Florence on Sep 22, 2017 in a bid to gain momentum in the Brexit talks. The city of Florence was chosen because of its location in the heart of Europe and known for its history of trade and finance. The Florence speech itself was seen as an attempt to kick-start the stalling talks  and was largely a symbolic gesture rather than an outline of policy, verbatim, given that May went to Florence in friendship rather than adversity. It was this thinking which could been illustrated through the tone, content and notions employed through the speech of British PM. In her speech, British PM Theresa May tried to set out a picture of a post-Brexit UK. Some key concessions had been ceded through this speech. May outlined her proposal for a transition plan, of which would be over two years (till March 2019), in order to succeed in key agreements, to support business and to offer a degree of stability of families between Britain and mainland Europe. However, a transition plan will also allow May and her government to formulate an implementation plan and their aims and objectives. The parallel talks, as supported by Brexit Secretary David Davis, which had been an area of disagreement between the UK and EU have been dumped in favour of a sequencing of talks – an agreement on dates, priorities and organisation. A major concession which came out of the Florence speech was the acceptance of any law the EU agrees to regarding the rights of EU citizens in the UK. EU citizens arriving into the UK after March 2019 will be subject to a registration system. May has rejected the ‘Canadian model’ for further relationship with the EU, which was previously mooted as a possibility, in favour of a ‘bespoke model’  - a model, which considers the cooperation of Britain with Europe. She has also rejected the idea of a post-Brexit Britain becoming tax-haven, akin to the Northern-Hemisphere/ Hong Kong. That said, David Davis has confirmed that the European Court of Justice will no longer have a mandate over the UK, instead a new system will be formed to deal with the intermediate differences between the UK and EU.  Furthering the notion of cooperation as carried by the rhetoric “Shared History, Shared Challenges, Shared Future”, May alluded to the possibility of a treaty being drafted which would concern deeper cooperation between Britain and her European counterparts in the field of security. She called for a bold, new security pact with the EU and post-Brexit UK considering the UK’s role in European security as vital as never before. In addition, Britain will pay into joint projects involving science and education, whilst also paying to accept the freedom of labour. The speech has been criticised for lacking substance, however, it could be argued that this speech maintained a sensible negotiating stance, leaving the EU space to advance upon its preconditions. Therefore, although the past week of Brexit negotiations was described by both sides as ‘warm and constructive’, still no sufficient progress has been made necessary to move to next phase of Brexit talks.     Iryna Ivashko, ICPS senior analyst, Cameron Gibson, ICPS visiting expert                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ...

ICPS Press
29.09.2017

Bulletin of the regional transparency. Issue 2

We offer to your attention the second issue  of the analytical-information product of the International Centre for Policy Studies, "Bulletin of the regional transparency", which was developed in the framework of the project "Transparency, financial health and competitiveness of the local self-government in Ukraine" being implemented by ICPS and Slovak non-governmental non-profit organization INEKO with the financial support of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. The Bulletin contains the review the work of the Project, as well as a variety of materials devoted to increased transparency, financial viability and competitiveness of the local authorities, as well as issues related to the coverage of the decentralization reform. In this issue we offer to your attention materials on: Presentation of transparency rating in 22 regions of Ukraine by experts of ICPS (Ukraine) and Transparency International Slovakia; A violation of the procedural issues in Khmelnytsky City Council during preparation for the next session; Procurement of Chernivtsi City Council with used trolleys in emergency condition; Analysis of the position of the city of Odessa in the transparency rankings of the cities; Abuse in the city Kropivnitskyi in the greening of the city; Exposing individual schemes, discrimination of bidders in public procurement; Recommendations to local authorities on how to improve the transparency and openness of budget processes with participation of citizens. Full version of the Bulletin is available here: /assets/uploads/images/images/eu/nl_02_07_17_.pdf...

ICPS Press
17.07.2017