USAID Program “RADA: Responsible Accountable Democratic Assembly” jointly with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, Ukrainian non-governmental organization “Center of Policy and Legal Reforms”, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance with the support of the European Union organized international roundtable “Constitutional principles of the Legislative Branch of power in Ukraine” on June 27.
USAID’s RADA Program expert presented recommendations to ensure the sustainable functioning of the system of checks and balances based on principles of interaction and interdependence of the branches of government as well as on systematic and effective governance, which were supported by the participants of the roundtable. Around 90 participants including MPs and their assistants, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine staff, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine staff, technical assistance projects took part in the event.
Ihor Kogut, USAID RADA Program Chief of Party:
“Today, on the eve of the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine, we are holding a roundtable with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and Ukrainian non-governmental and international organizations. We are convinced that in Parliament we must constantly speak about the Constitution. The discussion will be about the status of extra-parliamentary institutions in the legislative process, the role of Parliament in the formation of the Government and the oversight function. The discussions of the RADA Program have already created an atmosphere for seeking a vision of Parliamentary Reform”.
Oksana Syroid, Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada:
“I consider one of the shortcomings in the work of the Parliament - the lack of a culture of consensus-seeking. There is no habit to speak, to seek a solution that suits the various sides of this process. We want committees to be a platform that contributes to a consensus culture for deputies. In addition, the oversight function is important. First of all, how the Government collects and spends people's money. The legislative process and laws are the result of the parliamentary oversight function. I think we are about to revise powers of the triangle between the President, the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers, not just to balance, but to fill the institutions with the meaning of their work”.
Petro Bodnar, First Deputy Head of the Secretariat of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine:
“Parliament is an arena for important discussions and debates, especially constitutional. We, the Verkhovna Rada Secretariat, understand our importance in ensuring a competent and impartial process of drafting and agreeing on draft decisions. We welcome the assistance of international organizations and co-organizers of this event in enhancing our expertise and institutional capacity in introducing innovations and new formats of work for the openness of the work of the Parliament. I hope that the reforms we initiated by our training programs, educational formats, information and expert support of the law-making process will be implemented”.
John Pennell, USAID Deputy Mission Director for Ukraine:
“Ukraine’s Constitution provides the Verkhovna Rada with a number of essential roles. Parliament can appoint or dismiss officials, create administrative bodies, check the activities of the executive branch and initiate legislation. These significant powers can be efficiently and democratically if they are performed within the framework of the Constitution, rather than in the service of political expediency”.
“USAID has provided both direct and indirect support for the Constitutional process. Particularly, since the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, and in cooperation with the Verkhovna Rada, New Justice Project has contributed to the examination and discussion of Constitutional changes regarding the judiciary, RADA Program with Constitutional seminars familiarized MPs with the Constitutional Commission and draft laws supporting proposed constitutional amendments”.
“In this particular regard, USAID welcomes this initiative, organized by the Parliament, Venice Commission, International IDEA, the RADA Program and other expert institutions to ensure that Parliament functions according to Constitutional principles. Furthermore, it is essential that the Verkhovna Rada continues to implement Pat Cox Parliament’s Needs Assessment Mission Roadmap: improve the quality of legislation and legislative process, contribute to the effective implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement”.