Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council

Washington DC, October 24, 2007 — An Atlantic Council taskforce of international experts has appealed to Ukraine’s newly elected political leaders to launch a comprehensive fight against rampant political and business corruption.

A report released today by the Atlantic Council, Corruption, Democracy, and Investment in Ukraine, finds that corruption is so widespread that it has the potential to threaten the country’s economic prosperity and national security. Although Ukraine has made significant progress in developing democratic institutions and in holding clean elections, Ukraine’s political leaders have thus far lacked the political will and cohesiveness to seriously combat corruption.

“While the recent parliamentary elections were certified as free and fair by international observers, the trends aren’t as positive with regard to corruption,” said Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and member of the Council task force.

“The new Ukrainian government -- with the full support of the parliament -- needs to make rooting out corruption an immediate priority. This includes cleaning up the judicial system, breaking corrupt linkages between business and government, and working with the parliament to improve outdated anti-corruption legislation.”

Frederick Kempe, president of the Atlantic Council, said, “We consider the corrosive nature of corruption one of the top challenges to young democracies wishing to integrate into the European Union and Atlantic Community. This report, endorsed by a group of outstanding experts, offers an unbiased perspective of the many different levels of corruption that exist in Ukraine and offers policy prescriptions on how to cure this disease.”

The report outlines specific steps that Ukraine’s political leaders should take against “grand corruption” among senior government officials and “petty corruption” which plagues Ukrainians in many aspects of their lives. The report recommends that the president and the new government and prime minister should use their new mandate to immediately begin:

-         coordinating and consolidating outdated anti-corruption legislation and amend Ukrainian law where necessary;
-         reforming the corrupt judiciary by establishing a new judicial chamber, staffed by a new generation of judges;
-         creating an independent national investigative bureau to uncover and root out corruption grand corruption;
-         eliminating or reducing the scope of parliamentary immunity which in the past has been used by politicians to hide from persecution
-         increasing transparency by publishing annual declarations of assets and incomes of senior public officials and politicians.

This project was generously supported by the RJI Capital Corporation. Jan Neutze, assistant director of the transatlantic relations program at the Atlantic Council, served as project director and co-author along with Adrian Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Copies are available on-line or by contacting Yulia Kosiw at 202-778-4956 or at info@acus.org.