Today, the European Commission officially endorsed the beginning of Ukraine’s accession process, acknowledging that Ukraine has met most of the criteria required for EU candidate status. The results from Candidate Check 5, an independent evaluation of the implementation of EU recommendations conducted by the New Europe Center in partnership with Ukrainian think tanks and CSOs, underscore Ukraine’s substantial progress towards fulfilling its EU aspirations. As Ukraine continues to undergo its comprehensive reform process in an effort to become a full-fledged member of the EU, awareness and engagement of government reforms among its citizenry is crucial. Ukrainians, who understand the meaning, value, and benefits of these reforms will continue to play an integral role in supporting state efforts for EU membership status. To better understand Ukrainians’ awareness of the government-led reform agenda, please look through our Civic Engagement Poll which provides valuable insights and pays special attention to not only the war-related conditions but also to specific awareness across gender.
In this newsletter issue, we present findings on Ukraine’s democratic progress over the past five years and delve into various initiatives propelling Ukraine’s path toward European integration. These efforts not only promote democratic processes but also significantly enhance civic engagement and participation. Be sure to explore our “What We Read” section for additional insights on Ukraine’s EU journey. Stay tuned for more inspiration!
The Global State of Democracy 2023 report by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) presents an insightful overview of global democratic trends, focusing on four critical dimensions that evaluate democratic performance: Representation, Rights, Rule of Law, and Participation. Ukraine stands out among countries, experiencing notable progress over the past five years. In 2022, Ukraine demonstrated significant progress in the area of Participation, which measures the extent of citizen engagement in democratic processes both within and outside election periods. Impressively, Ukraine’s ranking moved from 109 in 2017 and 86 in 2021 to 73 in 2022. Additionally, Ukraine saw improvements in the Rule of Law. This dimension evaluates the independence of the judiciary, the integrity of public administrators, the predictability of law enforcement, and citizens’ protection from political violence. Ukraine’s ranking improved substantially from 171 in 2021 to 112 in 2022. The Rights metric, reflecting the fairness of the legal system, respect for civil liberties, and societal equality, maintained a consistent ranking of 78 in 2022, mirroring its positions in both 2021 and 2017. However, the Representation metric, which measures electoral credibility, legislative effectiveness, and local democratic quality, experienced a slight decline from 91 in 2021 to 93 in 2022. Nevertheless, this remains relatively steady compared to 2017’s ranking of 98. Overall, these findings underscore Ukraine’s significant strides in bolstering its democratic institutions and processes, particularly in citizen participation and the rule of law, despite facing ongoing challenges.
Civil Society News
Vox Ukraine Releases Analysis of Ukraine’s Reform Progress in Q3 2023
Ukraine has made progress in meeting the seven European Union requirements to begin accession negotiations. Specifically, Ukraine has met the EU’s requirements for judicial reform and continues to harmonize its national legislation with European standards. According to Vox Ukraine’s Reform Index, during the third quarter, none of the implemented reforms exceeded the critical +2 score threshold, a benchmark that differentiates major reforms from those of lesser significance. Simultaneously, during this period (as in the previous two quarters), the CSO did not record anti-reform or questionable regulations with an overall “zero” rating.
Transparency International Ukraine Analyzes the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Component of EU Recommendations
According to the European Commission, Ukraine fulfilled more than 90% of the recommendations required for candidate status. The anti-corruption component, a long-term priority in Ukraine`s relations with Western partners, is also included in these recommendations. Read the column by Andrii Borovyk, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine, to gain a comprehensive understanding of EU-related changes in Ukraine`s anti-corruption sphere, what reforms have been implemented, and what further improvements are required.
Razumkov Center Explores Citizens’ Interest and Engagement in Politics
On November 1, the Razumkov Center released an opinion poll titled “Citizens and Politics: Interest in Politics, Civic Engagement, Political Education,” conducted with the support of USAID/ENGAGE support in September 2023. This survey offers valuable insights across three key domains: interest and competence in politics, social and political activity, and the assessment of political education, as well as the demand for it among citizens. This information holds significant importance for Ukrainian authorities, CSOs, and international partners for shaping a civic education system tailored to the unique context of Russia`s war against Ukraine and engaging Ukrainian citizens in democratic processes.
Center of Policy and Legal Reform Hosts Youth Analytical Forum to Bolster Youth Activism in Ukraine
On October 30, the Center of Policy and Legal Reform conducted an analytical forum titled “Youth in the Future of Ukraine,” bringing together young individuals interested in state-building and envisaging themselves as active contributors to this process. Participants underscored the pivotal role of youth activism and emphasized the need to involve young people in forthcoming negotiations with the EU regarding Ukraine’s accession, particularly in matters related to aligning Ukrainian legislation with EU standards. They also stressed the need for the state to actively develop youth policy and engage young people in the decision-making process.
USAID/ENGAGE Partners to Launch the Anti-Corruption School for Civic Activists and Journalists
USAID/ENGAGE partners, CHESNO Movement and Anti-Corruption Headquarters, in cooperation with the Institute for Legislative Ideas, StateWatch, and FiscalCenter, are welcoming applications for the Anti-Corruption School. This training program, targeting regional activists, civil organization representatives, and investigative journalists, is scheduled to occur in person in the Ivano-Frankivsk region from December 9th to December 15th. The curriculum covers essential topics such as procurement monitoring, investigative techniques, effective communication, and working with open data. Participation is free and registration is open until November 10th.
More Opportunities! We Introduce an Updated Request for Applications
Long-awaited! We are pleased to introduce our updated and enhanced Request for Applications for civil society initiatives. It provides expanded institutional and project support, contributing to increased citizen participation in democratic processes, strengthening confidence in civil society, and advancing Ukraine’s drive towards victory. We encourage you to review its terms and conditions, submit your applications, and join us in empowering civil society in Ukraine!
Check Our Website for More Opportunities for Vendors and Job Seekers
We invite qualified vendors to visit our website’s procurement section to access the latest consultant requests for USAID/ENGAGE – https://bit.ly/3u391QK
Qualified specialists interested in our job openings are encouraged to review the listings – https://bit.ly/3UKgGN7
What We Read
Mapping the Progress of Ukraine’s EU-Led Reforms
Ukraine has made progress in implementing EU-mandated reforms, which are key for starting its accession talks, but more will be needed further down the line. In this opinion piece, Olena Halushka, the co-founder of the International Center for Ukrainian Victory and a board member at the Anti-Corruption Action Center, and Alyona Getmanchuk, the founder and director of the New Europe Center, assess the progress made so far
Towards European Integration: Study of Existing Projects, Stakeholder Needs, and Resource Optimization in Ukraine
The “Towards European Integration: a Study of Existing Projects, Stakeholder Needs, and Resource Optimization in Ukraine” paper by Isar Ednannia is a comprehensive study of existing initiatives and projects related to the European integration of Ukraine in the period of 2022-2023. It identifies the priorities and needs of key stakeholders involved in the European integration process. Based on the collected information, the paper offers recommendations for donor organizations to enhance their support for European integration projects.