EU assistance to Ukraine had limited impact and, despite the impetus for reform since then, the results achieved so far remain fragile, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Over most of the period audited, the unstable political, legislative and administrative context limited the effectiveness of EU assistance, say the auditors.
The auditors assessed whether European Commission and European External Action Service assistance was proving effective in supporting the reforms in Ukraine. They examined the areas of public finance management and the fight against corruption, as well as the gas sector, between 2007 and 2015.
EU-Ukraine cooperation advanced in the wake of the 2014 Maidan events, say the auditors, but the challenges faced by Ukraine still heavily affect the reform process and the risks posed by the former and new oligarchs remain high. The EU responded promptly to the 2014 crisis with a package of €11.2 billion over seven years. But this was an emergency solution. The EU allocated and disbursed large amounts of money rapidly and without first agreeing its strategy.
“EU support for Ukraine remains a work in progress, despite good efforts by the Commission”, said Szabolcs Fazakas, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “At the time of our audit, there was a strong political commitment to public administration reform. But management changes jeopardised the reforms and low salaries created openings for corruption. Further steps are needed to meet objectives.”