Rampant corruption is one reason behind Ukraine’s failed NATO bid

President Joe Biden, right, looks to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky as he speaks during a meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Ukraine must implement reforms to fight corruption and strengthen its institutions if it wants to be eligible to join NATO, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, during the second day of the NATO summit in Vilnius.

Von der Leyen encouraged Ukraine to implement further reforms and pledged the support of the European Union. According to Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, von der Leyen’s statement “said in plain language that there was still so much corruption and opacity in Ukraine’s institutions that it could not yet get the green light to join NATO or the European Union.” However, the paper also noted that von der Leyen noted the country’s efforts were appreciated and it had made a lot of progress.

The European Commission already identified systemic corruption in Ukraine in 2021. Although the EU had launched a number of initiatives to reduce the potential for corruption and proposed a wide range of measures, the EU commission’s report at the time found that no progress had been made on this issue in 2021.

At that time, there was a significant decline in the judiciary, and anti-corruption institutions were also under threat, according to the report. The authors also noted that oligarchs and vested interests are the biggest problem, as they are an obstacle to the rule of law and economic development in Ukraine.

Brussels is keen to bring Ukraine into the European Union. However, even EU officials do not dare mention in their reports anything concrete or substantial to suggest that Ukraine is ready for integration, and Von der Leyen’s remarks indicate that the situation has still not improved.

As Remix News reported last week, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, representing Ukrainian entrepreneurs, issued an appeal to President Volodymyr Zelensky, demanding action to curb the abuse of power by government officials. The abuse of power by military officials and judges has crossed all lines, according to Ukrainian entrepreneurs, who are calling for the establishment of a public registry to identify corrupt officials. They further argue that corruption on an unprecedented scale is eroding Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

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