President of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) Gianni Buquicchio called for accelerating the reform of the judiciary in Ukraine, and also noted that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) should be “safeguarded at any cost.”
“The judiciary reform must be comprehensive. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has been working on this reform in Ukraine for decades already, without real success,” Buquicchio said at the Democracy in Action: Zero Corruption Conference on Tuesday.
He stressed that the NABU must be safeguarded at any cost. “Because they have done a good job and they must continue to do their job,” the President of the Venice Commission said.
“Vetting the High Council of Justice and selecting new good members is a priority. The High Qualifications Commission is also a priority. But they two are interlinked, and I think it is much more important that the Council is vetted and reformed, in order to select good members of the High Qualifications Commission,” Buquicchio said.
According to him, the reform is also urgent, because Ukraine lacks 2,000 judges, and next year there will be another 1,700 judges who will retire by that time.
“This means that the judiciary will operate with half of its personnel. All these issues are urgent, and what I hope that the government and the parliament will do is to accelerate these reforms,” he said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky offered French President Emmanuel Macron to sign a declaration of support for Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.
“We have made a declaration that we conclude with partner countries, member states of the European Union, in which this or that country signs a declaration with us, indicating its support of Ukraine in striving to be a member of the European Union. Frankly speaking, several countries have already signed this declaration. There are countries that are now reviewing this declaration. I told the details of this declaration. I suggested that France also support Ukraine. I believe that President Macron will get acquainted with this declaration and give his answer,” Zelensky said at a briefing on the results talks with French President Macron in Paris on Friday.
Zelensky also said the Declaration on the European Perspective of Ukraine is an initiative of our state, which “does not want to wait until everything is done for us.”
“We are very proactive in Ukraine. We do not wait for everything to be done for us. We ourselves are taking concrete steps,” Zelensky said.
As reported, on March 18, a meeting of the presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania took place, during which they signed a Declaration on the European perspective of Ukraine.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called the proposal of U.S. President Joe Biden to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a third country as correct, since this dialogue could “resolve a number of issues.”
“I believe that this [Biden’s intention to meet with Putin on the territory of a third country] is correct. This is very […] timely, very important […] I think this could solve a number of issues, because there should be a dialogue between these countries. Sometimes, when such large states do not communicate, others suffer. Believe us, we understand that,” Zelensky said at a briefing following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.
At the same time, Zelensky said that if during the meeting the leaders of the United States and Russia raise the issue of Ukraine, which may well be relevant, then the discussion will not be “so substantive and correct.”
“It [the issue of Ukraine] will not be substantive, it will not be correct, and this will once again show that large countries are in size, they think that everything is around them, but it seems to me that the world is much larger,” the president said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky plans to visit the Lithuanian capital in 2021 to participate in a conference on reforms in Ukraine, said Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy Head of the President’s Office of Ukraine. “We hope that the conference will take place this year. The Ukrainian government and the President’s Office are already working on this. The head of state will be happy to come to Lithuania to discuss progress in Ukrainian reforms and support for Ukraine from European partners,” the President’s Office on Tuesday quoted Zhovkva as saying who gave an interview to the Lithuanian branch of the leading news agency in the Baltic region, Baltic News Service (BNS).
He also noted that currently “preparations are underway for the fourth conference on reforms in Ukraine, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to Zhovkva, “over the past year and a half, Ukraine has shown significant progress in reforms, in particular, recently the President of the European Council Charles Michel noted the efforts of Volodymyr Zelensky in judicial and banking reforms, as well as in the agro-industrial sector.
“We count on a fair assessment of the process. And we count on help to Ukraine to continue this path of reforms,” Zhovkva stressed.
The Deputy Head of the President’s Office also focused on the process of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
He recalled that Ukraine received the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities and is raising the issue of providing an action plan for membership in the Alliance.
“We understand that we have to do our homework, including reforms in the security and military sector of Ukraine. We are working on this,” Zhovkva said.
He also assured that now work is underway to deepen Ukraine’s integration with the European Union.
“Much depends on Ukraine, but not everything. We will work on our ‘homework’, but we really count on the support of Brussels and the EU member states. And here, by the way, the role of Lithuania is very important, because I hope that Lithuania has unanimous support for Ukraine’s membership in the EU and NATO, “said the deputy head of the President’s Office.
He added that the Republic of Lithuania is not just a strategic partner for Ukraine, but a “strategic friend and brother”, and both countries have great potential for cooperation.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), the head of state said on his Instagram page.
“Doctors and military personnel are already being vaccinated. I urge all others to join the Diia queue. There is nothing to be afraid of, I am setting my own example,” the president said on Tuesday.
On Twitter, Zelensky said that he was vaccinated on the front line with Ukrainian soldiers as commander-in-chief.
“The same Oxford/AstraZeneca (Covishield) from India, which was delivered first to Ukraine, and which received millions of people around the world. The vaccine will allow us to live again without restrictions,” he said.
President of the European Council Charles Michel started his visit to Ukraine on Tuesday morning, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said.
“The President of the European Council has landed in Kharkiv. Two days in Ukraine: visiting the line of contact, honouring the memory of the victims of Maidan, seeing EU COVID-assistance in practice, discussions with [Volodymyr] Zelensky on reforms and association, participation in Ukraine 30 forum on judicial reform,” Maasikas said on Twitter on Tuesday.