European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has criticized the parliament and authorities of Ukraine for their refusal to cancel e-declarations for members of anticorruption NGOs.
"The failure to repeal the extension of this obligation from public officials also to civic activists is contrary to Ukraine's European aspirations. It is contrary to the strong recommendations given by Ukraine's international partners, including the EU (also in the context of monitoring Ukraine's continued implementation of commitments in the visa liberalisation process), the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR," he said in his statement.
"The purpose of the asset declaration system is to help prevent corruption by public officials by exposing potentially unjustified wealth of public officials. Civil society members are not public officials and imposing asset declarations upon them only puts unacceptable and undue burden and pressure on them and will play into the hands of those keen to destroy Ukraine’s efforts to fight corruption effectively," he continued.
The European commissioner said that Ukraine's actions run contrary to the association agreement.
"The EU's relationship with Ukraine is based on common values. Both sides have agreed that respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms constitute the essential elements of the Association Agreement," he said.
"Ukraine has made remarkable progress over the past years. It is important not to create setbacks and undermine the progress that has been made. Ukraine's parliament should revert to the issue and lift asset declaration obligations on civil society activists and limit these to public officials as soon as possible. The EU stands ready to provide further support and advice," Hahn said.
Parliament passed amendments to the law on e-declarations, which oblige public anticorruption activists to report their incomes, on 23 March 2017. MPs tried to have them cancelled but came short (46) of the required minimum of 226 votes.
Attempts to revisit the issue under the Western pressure have been in vain.