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Poroshenko's veto on environmental assessment bills raises eyebrows in EU

"We understand it is not about some details but the whole project."

The European Union is surprised that President Petro Poroshenko vetoed laws on environmental assessment, said head of one of the sections of Ukraine Support Group in the European Commission.

Speaking at a roundtable in Gorshenin Institute, organized in partnership with Reanimation Package of Reforms on 4 November, Torsten Wöllert said that these laws meet European standards, so Poroshenko's veto came as a surprise for the EU.

It could be understandable should the president had sent some specific suggestions to this bill, Wöllert said.

"But now, as we see it, the entire project rather than individual parts is called into question, as the presidential comments are not very specific but fairly basic. This also raises questions, because these laws are not dissimilar from European," he said.

"It is alarming that the elements that add transparency to procedures are called into in question with the argument that they are "corruptogenic". Transparency is the best tool against corruption," added Wöllert.

He was surprised by the fact that one of the arguments for the veto was a "threat to national security." "If this is so, then how 28 EU countries use the same mechanisms, and their economy is still working," Wöllert said.

Environmental assessment is a European standard, the expert stressed, without which the investments in Ukraine will be limited. He expressed hope that the issue of the veto will be resolved very promptly.

On October 31, President Petro Poroshenko vetoed the law (registration number 3259) on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is one of Ukraine's commitments under the European Union Association Agreement.

Poroshenko also vetoed the law (№2009a-e) on the assessment of the impact on the environment. This evaluation concerns the environmental impact of the planned activities of business entities.