After its recent skirmish with Russia the Ukraine has now been awarded €500 million from the EU Commission as part of the Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme. It has now received €3.3 billion since 2014. The EU believes Ukraine has met its anti-corruption targets.
Russia has just impounded a number of Ukrainian naval ships in the Sea of Azov. This latest Russian aggression was cited by the Commission in reference to the EU’s decision to grant the disbursement, though formally it rejected the suggestion that the two were linked. A Commission spokesman said:
““Negotiations were already ongoing well before the current developments. The Commission has decided to disburse the first tranche of the MFA, because Ukraine has fulfilled the commitments laid down in the Memorandum of Understanding.”
Ukraine has made progress on the corruption front, its High Anti-Corruption Court is now up and running and it has put considerable resources into cleaning up sectors such as banking and energy.
Though criticised by the Commission for ‘weak’ results in March there has been some visible progress since. It has warned, however, that such measures will still take time to deliver results.
Tackling corruption is not an overnight fix, it requires considerable investment in infrastructure, law enforcement, legislative backing, and above all a culture change. This takes time. Given the EU’s wider issues, however, time is not something the EU has in endless supply.