European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Volodymyr Groysman, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, hailed the opening of “Ukraine week” – a three-day high-level conference – on February 29. Participants include MEPs, national and Ukrainian MPs.
“Cooperation with Ukraine is essential and our solidarity should not be questioned,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz, adding that the event “demonstrates strong solidarity between the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”.
“You need our support and you will receive it,” he said. “However recommendations to reform the VRU should not be put into the filing cabinet, but implemented.”
In turn, Chairman of Ukraine’s Vekhovna Rada, Volodymyr Groysman, said: “Ukraine needs strong institutions and we are ready to start reforms to strengthen democracy in Ukraine… The drawbacks, such as ethics or political culture, will not hinder it.”
Also expressing support for Ukraine, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, noted that the “EU does not support political parties or politicians, but the principles of rule of law and democracy”.
At the opening of the three-day conference, former European Parliament President Pat Cox presented his report and a capacity-building roadmap for Ukraine’s Vehkovna Rada, which was discussed on March 1. “The driving idea for this report was that stability of democracy, economic and social situation is built on strong and independent institutions,” he said.
As reported by the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, Cox recommended the Verkhovna Rada to optimise its work and decrease a quorum necessary for voting.
“There are 2,500 bills on the agenda of the parliament, and 200 of them were tabled by MPs, which is good, but a lot,” Cox said presenting the report of his mission in Brussels.
He said it was necessary to improve monthly schedule of parliamentary sittings, the parliament’s control mechanisms over the executive power, as well as the structure of the parliamentary committees.
Cox also said the voting system in the Verkhovna Rada should change so that the opposition can win from time to time.
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman issued a joint statement: “We endorsed the recommendations of the report of the Needs Assessment Mission led by former EP President Pat Cox, which provides an ambitious roadmap for the reform and the transformation of the Ukrainian Parliament. The Report contains concrete suggestions on improving the quality of its legislative process, its efficiency and transparency, and represents a joint ownership of all the factions and groups of the Verkhovna Rada.”