Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hughes Mingarelli has called on the Ukrainian authorities to take a firm stance to prevent pressure on anti-corruption NGOs.
”My first reaction is one of growing concern for what appears to be another sign of pressure against anti-corruption NGOs. Yesterday`s intervention in the Rada adds to a negative tendency which has accelerated during the spring. We have seen other attempts in this direction, and we have already expressed our views on the amendments adopted obliging anti-corruption NGOs to submit e-declarations similar to public officials, and thus make it more difficult for them to operate,” he told UNIAN.
Answering the question on why such pressure is coming now, he said: ”Ukraine is reaching a critical stage in its anti-corruption effort and probably this is also evidence that some people feel threatened, which is a good sign NABU is investigating a number of high-profile cases and has announced an intention to bring them to courts.”
”Anti-corruption NGOs continue to play their legitimate watchdog role in parallel, which is key in holding authorities and public officials accountable. Curbing this recent negative trend of pressure requires authorities to take a firm stance. Otherwise, one could see in this a worrying trend reminiscent of past and gloomy times for the country,” Mingarelli stressed.
He added that the EU continues will follow closely the issues related to the state of democracy and reforms in Ukraine.
”A credible fight against corruption and the respect of the work of civil society remains key issues for the EU and are part of the elements that determine our support to Ukraine. Civil society organizations, including anti-corruption NGOs, play a crucial role in the transformation of Ukraine and bringing the country closer to the EU. They should be promoted and protected and not attacked,” Mingarelli said.