Ukraine Endorses Strategic Law Enforcement Reform Plan to Align with EU Standards

March 15, 2024

Today, 15 March 2023, the Action Plan implementing the Overarching Strategic Plan for the Reform of the Entire Law Enforcement Sector between 2023-2027 (OAS/AP) was endorsed during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) chaired by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin. The document lays the groundwork for implementing ambitious reforms in the civilian security sector, which will enable Ukraine to apply the EU standards relating to transparency, efficiency, good governance, and integrity in the field. The implementation of the OAS/AP is considered an important instrument supporting the ongoing negotiations for EU accession.

The next steps include the document’s submission by the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for approval. Its implementation should start immediately afterwards. The EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine, as a main partner in drafting and coordinating the document’s content and a member of the IAWG, was invited to attend. Rolf Holmboe, the Head of EUAM, praised the efficient work completed by the members of the Expert Working Group, appreciated the document as ambitious and realistic, and hailed it as a good example of inter-agency cooperation aiming at meeting the EU standards that would support Ukraine’s path towards joining the EU. The Head of Mission underlined the importance of the document’s thorough implementation in view of achieving irreversible reforms in the field. To that end, EUAM stands ready to continue providing its support and advice in implementing this document.

Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin further underlined that drafting the document has been a valuable teamwork exercise where EUAM’s support was essential, and that enabled enhanced trust among agencies, on the one hand, but also between international and Ukrainian partners, on the other hand. Representatives of relevant Committees in the Verkhovna Rada, who were also members of the IAWG, appreciated the transparency and inclusiveness of the drafting process of the OAS/AP, which provides for smooth progress in later discussions and approval of relevant legislation implementing the Action Plan.

Background and Path Forward

The drafting of the OAS AP began on 12 July 2023, following its approval by the President of Ukraine on 11 May 2023. An Expert Working Group consisting of representatives from the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA), law enforcement agencies (LEAs), independent experts, and international partners, including EUAM, completed the draft on 12 March 2024. This inclusive approach featured regular consultations and input from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The OAS AP targets comprehensive reform of core LEAs like the National Police (NPU), State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine (ESBU), State Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), as well as OPG, and MoIA, aligning their operations with six strategic priorities and international and EU standards. A time-bound, measurable action plan, including a strong anti-corruption focus and consideration of the war context, is essential for tangible progress. This initiative is a key part of EUAM’s mandate.

The plan includes specific objectives, activities, measurable key performance indicators, and timelines covering six priorities: improving LEAs’ effectiveness and efficiency, establishing consistent criminal policy, ensuring prompt criminal proceedings, implementing a results-oriented management system, accelerating digital transformation, and enhancing openness, transparency, accountability, and independence.

This initiative not only underscores Ukraine’s commitment to reform but also significantly contributes to its EU accession negotiations. By establishing a clear reform framework, Ukraine reaffirms its dedication to democracy, the rule of law, and international standards, thus strengthening its path towards European integration.