Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels

According to annexes to the Association Agreement, from December 1, 2016, until November 1, 2017, Ukraine had to fulfil 86 of commitments. But the reality was different – Ukraine fulfilled 10 commitments, that is about 11% of the total number of tasks on approximation of the national legislation of Ukraine to the legislation of the European Union

The most successful is the sphere of technical regulation, the least successful – the maritime transport with almost no piece of draft legislation has been developed.

“Technical” leader of the year

Fulfillment of Ukraine’s commitments regarding the implementation of the EU horizontal (framework) legislation in the field of technical regulation has received the highest score, as the requirements of the relevant EU legal acts regarding units of measurement, accreditation and market surveillance, general product safety, liability for defective products and Common framework for the marketing of products have been fully implemented into national legislation. New standards have already begun to be applied in practice. At present, some additional efforts are needed to increase the level of competence of government officials (including in the field of judiciary), as well as private companies’ staff dealing with technical regulations, in order to improve the enforcement of the above-mentioned legislation.

In the middle of the distance

In the area of consumer rights protection, we can talk about the implementation of two commitments: the directive concerning products which do not comply with declared visual characteristics and endanger the health or safety of consumers, as well as the directive on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers.

In the field of business activities, partial progress can be noted. Namely, the adoption of amendments to the law on accounting and financial reporting in Ukraine allows us to assert that the implementation of basic provisions of the European legislation on the simplification of financial reporting is indeed taking place – which cannot be said about other acts of the EU.

Due to the painstaking work of the key stakeholders, a number of basic laws were adopted in the field of energy efficiency, implementing energy efficiency and certification requirements, a system of commercial accounting for consumption of different types of energy, requirements for public procurement of energy services, housing and communal services market organization, as well as a framework law to launch the Energy Efficiency Fund, which will provide financial support to projects for the energy modernization of buildings in residential sector.

Implementation of commitments in the field of environment is also quite successful, especially in the environmental impact assessment and water management sub-sectors.

In the area of taxation, Ukraine has not yet been able to fully align the national legislation with the requirements of the EU on the exemption from value added tax and excise duty of goods imported by persons travelling from third countries. Despite the fact that many of these EU norms have already been taken into account in the current version of the Customs Code, in order to fully implement them, it is necessary to pass the Draft Law No. 4615, which has been under consideration in the Parliament for more than 17 months (from May 2016).

Running on the spot

Regarding customs issues, fulfilment of commitments relating to the simplification of customs formalities has almost failed, and its progress is too slow. Customs control simplification foresees an established connection with the EU New Computerized Transit System (NCTS) and the introduction of the Single Administrative Document (SAD). These requirements are set out in the Conventions on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods and on the common transit procedure. Although a number of subordinate legal acts regulating customs issues have already been adopted, the Draft Law No. 5627 which amends the Customs Code and provides for the introduction of transit procedures in accordance with the norms of the Conventions is still awaiting consideration by the Parliament of Ukraine. The EU’s invitation to accede to these conventions will only be provided upon condition of the full implementation of their provisions.

In the spheres of prospection and exploration of hydrocarbons and eco-design requirements for energy using products, the work is carried out at the level of development of draft regulations that require further approval by the Parliament or the responsible implementing authorities. Implementation of tasks in the oil sector also require changes to the national legislation as well as the selection of appropriate implementation models on the creation and maintaining minimum stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products; and support for the use of environmentally friendly motor fuels (biofuels).

In the sector of environmental protection, the responsible governmental agency (the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine) has focused on strategizing meaning that first the overall strategy was adopted and implementation of EU acts is being delayed for an indefinite period. Most of deadlines for transferring acquis communautaire norms into the Ukrainian legislation are missed.

In the transport sector, no single EU act, stipulated by annexes to the Association Agreement, has been implemented. While we can see at least the process of drafting normative legal acts in the road transport sector, there are no any developments in the spheres of maritime transport and inland waterway transport. Consequently, the Ukrainian legislation still does not conform to a significant number of important EU acquis norms.

The situation with legislation approximation in the field of maritime transport is complicated, as no legislative act has been developed yet.

In the process of adaptation of the Ukrainian legislation to the Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers, provisions of the Directive regarding an institution responsible for technical inspection of motor vehicles were misapplied.

In the sphere of consumer rights protection, commitments have been implemented partially and with different level of compliance. The Law of Ukraine No. 1734-VIII “On Consumer Crediting”, which substantially approximated the Ukrainian legislation to the EU requirements, and the Law of Ukraine No. 675-VIII “On e-commerce”, which, although does not regulate all aspects of e-commerce, but has significantly improved the consumer rights protection in purchasing goods and services on internet, were adopted.

Ukraine demonstrates different results in fulfilment of commitments in the field of social policy. Before the signing of the Association Agreement, the Ukrainian legislation has already contained provisions of the directive on safety and health at work for pregnant workers and the directive on equality in social security, as well as part of provisions of the directive on the safeguarding of employees’ rights when the ownership of a company or business is transferred and the directive on information and consultation. However, this is only a small number of new standards to be implemented.

None of the directives regarding blood services has been implemented in the public health sector. Most legislative acts of Ukraine, implementing provisions of these directives, are at the stage of draft laws, some of which are not brought up for public discussion. However, it should be noted that the Ministry of Health of Ukraine jointly with international experts has elaborated a draft national strategy for the development of blood services system. Its adoption, still not approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, will allow carrying out important reforms regarding blood services and ensuring equal and timely access of people to safe components of donor blood of good quality and in the required amount.

Instead of conclusions

The Association Agreement implementation in terms of legislation approximation is slow and non-compliant with deadlines stipulated by the Agreement. The factors determining the successful fulfilment of commitments under the Association Agreement are the following: active role of institutions in charge, support from the EU and international financial organizations and the fact that in some sectors the process of legislation approximation started more than 5 years ago.

Poor staffing capacity of governmental institutions, too bureaucratized procedures for legislative acts adoption, conflicts of interest between different public authorities regarding the division of powers, as well as between different stakeholders, are among the factors that hamper the Agreement implementation.

Author: Liubov Akulenko, Executive Director of the NGO “Ukrainian Centre for European Policy” (Ukraine).

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