Ukraine, in times of war, advances in the fight against corruption, while Brazil, in times of peace, retreats. Peace to the corrupt, of course.
Twenty days after the Group OECD Anti-Bribery (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) release a report with criticism of Brazilian impunity in cases of transnational bribery, with a negative emphasis on the decision by STF minister Dias Toffoli to annul Odebrecht’s leniency agreement, the European Commission recommended to the European Council this Wednesday, 8, that it begin negotiations on membership of Ukraine (in addition to Moldova) the European Union“in light of the results achieved”.
“The Commission stands ready to report to the Council by March 2024 on progress regarding these measures,” says a summary of the statementwhich, however, anticipates an assessment that would be the envy of Brazilians without pet corruption:
“In Ukraine, the decision to grant EU candidate status has created, despite the ongoing war, a powerful reform momentum, with strong support from the people of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Government and Parliament have demonstrated determination to make substantial progress in fulfilling the 7 steps of the European Commission’s Opinion on Ukraine’s EU membership application.
Ukraine established a transparent pre-selection system for Constitutional Court judges and reformed judicial governance bodies.
It further developed its record of investigations and convictions for high-level corruption and strengthened its institutional framework.
Ukraine has taken positive steps in a broader, systemic effort to confront the influence of oligarchs.
The country has also demonstrated its ability to make progress in aligning with the EU acquis, even during times of war.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskywho came to power with an anti-corruption speech (and sketches, since he was a comedian), https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1722229363289231462formerly Twitter, recognizing the advances as a “historic day”:
“I welcome today’s recommendation from the European Commission to open EU accession negotiations with Ukraine.
This is a strong and historic step that paves the way for the strengthening of the EU, with Ukraine as a member.
I thank the EU and personally [presidente da Comissão]Ursula von der Leyen for supporting Ukraine on our path to the EU.
Ukraine continues its path of reform and looks forward to the decision of the European Council in December.”
Ursula von der Leyen He spoke in the Ukrainian parliament last weekend that the country had fulfilled 90% of the defined tasks. She praised progress in judicial reforms, the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions and the measures taken to reinforce restrictions on money laundering and the influence of oligarchs in public life.
“You have made great progress, much greater than expected from a country at war,” said the president of the Commission. “I am confident that they will be able to achieve their ambitious objective, that is, that the historic decision to open the accession negotiations process will be taken this year.”
This requires unanimous approval from all 27 EU countries.
Although diplomats told the Wall Street Journal that some EU leaders still need convincing, the contrast with Brazil stands out.
While Lula seeks to reestablish political control of Petrobras, hands over Caixa Econômica Federal to Centrão, keeps Codevasf under the command of the same bloc, exalts the minister with record scandals Juscelino Filho and looks for an Augusto Aras to call his own in the PGR, Zelensky has already fired nearly a dozen senior officials in connection with alleged bribery and embezzlement of public funds, in addition to vetoing legislation that would have banned public access to Ukrainian officials’ asset data for a year.
Ukraine’s president also in March dismissed Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was not directly implicated in corruption but was widely seen as incapable of managing the ministry. His replacement, Rustem Umerov, promised to make changes.
To top it all off, that month the police detained a Supreme Court judge, Vsevolod Knyazev, on suspicion of having received $3 million in bribes. In Brazil, when any suspicion arises around ministers of the Federal Supreme Court, whether in a plea bargain or in an investigation by the Federal Revenue Service, the ministers themselves annul or suspend the measures.
Daria Kaleniuk, director of the Kiev-based Anti-Corruption Action Center, a group that campaigns to eradicate corruption, told the WSJ that the urgency of fighting corruption has increased because many people have relatives who are injured or fighting on the front lines and there are an understanding that the stolen funds could be used to save the lives of Ukrainian troops.
“The war is creating a situation where we cannot afford not to fight corruption,” she said.
Researches indicate that Ukrainian society supports the government’s anti-corruption campaign and more than 80% of the population supports EU membership.
Brazil – which, as I explained in an article twenty months ago, is against the fight against autocrats and rich criminals – should not wait for a war to follow the same path.