Only one country on the European continent is in a worse position – Russia
Ukraine is almost the most corrupt country in Europe. At least according to Transparency International’s corruption index. Only one country on the European continent is at a disadvantage in terms of corruption – Russia.
This is a problem that Ukrainians are painfully aware of, says the German “Tageshau”.
“It is not difficult to understand that we have large-scale corruption. The difference between the European Union and Ukraine is that corruption is manifested at almost every level of government – from the most ordinary people to the potential prime minister,” said Maxim, a young man. a man from Kyiv who currently provides drones and aid to the army.
Many of his friends are involved in humanitarian aid. With a special document they are allowed to leave the country for a short period of time.
Recently, Maxim and his friends had an unpleasant experience at the border: “Our friends’ car was stopped at the border. Some of the border guards asked for money to enter. However, the case quickly became clear, Ukrainian police came and arrested the border guards.”
Border guards who want bribes, the sale of humanitarian aid – these are all stories that have spread in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. It is difficult to check. But in a country where corruption has spread to almost every sphere of life, for many people they seem credible.
The fact that police officers are intervening and taking action is already showing improvement.
Anton Marchuk of the Center for Combating Corruption explains: “We are making progress, perhaps not as fast as we would like, but it shows that we are moving in the right direction.”
For example, passports and documents can now be applied for online. Less physical contact with office workers also means fewer opportunities to bribe. The health care system has been reformed so that patients no longer have to pay for a referral. Several anti-corruption institutions have also been established. Critics, however, describe them as ineffective.
“We have the opportunity to do more to bring corruption to the EU average. We can do it, especially now that we have a clear goal that we did not have before. We now have the prospect of becoming an EU member in the future.” Marchuk thinks.
Many European countries are more pessimistic. A report from the Danish Foreign Ministry even accused Kyiv of lacking the will to fight corruption, according to the Zudoyche Zeitung. things have improved in Ukraine over the last eight years.
“Before 2014, it was terrible. On the way from Kyiv to Kharkov, they were always stopped by police and asked for money. This is no longer the case,” said Maxim.
When the mass protests on the Maidan in Kyiv began nine years ago, the fight against corruption was one of the movement’s main demands. Since then, many people have fought a sometimes disappointing battle against the deep-rooted system. But civil society has emerged, ready to take the long road to EU membership.
Ukraine received official candidate status for membership of the European Union after being approved by the bloc’s 27 leaders during a summit in Brussels.
Moldova also received candidate status, while Georgia remained on the waiting list for reforms to ensure the country’s political stability.
European Council President Charles Michel described the decision as a “historic moment”. “Today marks a decisive step on your path to the EU,” he wrote on Twitter.
Michel then congratulated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Moldovan President Maya Sandu, adding: “Our future is together.” Other EU leaders have joined social media to welcome the decision.
Zelensky praised the decision, saying “Ukraine’s future lies within the EU.” He then virtually joined the summit to talk to EU heads of state and government.
Candidate status is largely a symbolic sign recognizing that the chosen country is on track to begin the long, complex and often arduous accession process.