Strengthening and expanding democracy are central pillars for the reconstruction of Ukraine. This was reiterated by parliamentary representatives from Ukraine and Switzerland at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano.This content was published on July 5, 2022 - 11:50
- Deutsch An der Ukraine Recovery Conference geht's auch um Demokratie (original)
- Español “La libertad de Ucrania es nuestra libertad”
- Português Recuperação da Ucrânia requer "resiliência democrática"
- 中文 在乌克兰重建会议上民主也是重点
- عربي تعافي أوكرانيا يتطلب "مرونة ديمقراطية" أيضا
- Français À la Conférence sur l’Ukraine, il en va aussi de la démocratie
- Pусский Конференция по восстановлению Украины поставила вопрос устойчивости демократии!
- 日本語 ウクライナ復興 民主主義が成否のカギ
- Italiano Alla Conferenza sulla ricostruzione dell'Ucraina si è parlato anche di democrazia
- Конференція з відновлення України порушила питання стійкості демократії!
Before diplomats and economic advisors convened in Lugano, high-ranking delegations from the parliaments of Ukraine and Switzerland met. They were led by Ruslan Stefanchuk, president of the Verchnowa Rada, as the Ukrainian parliament is called, and Irène Kälin, speaker of the Swiss House of Representatives.
“We have to show that parliaments are courageous and independent of the government,” said Kälin. This conference can make a key contribution to that.
“The freedom of Ukraine is also our freedom. The Russian war of aggression is an attack on all of us, on our fundamental rights, on human rights, on sovereignty. For me, it goes without saying that the Swiss Parliament will provide support within the scope of what is possible.”
Parliament as a motor for democratisation
Kälin announced a formal statement in which she and her counterpart Stefanchuk have outlined priorities for the role of the Verkhovna Rada in the reconstruction process. These range from the legislative process, budget control, and the parliamentary supervisory function to boosting the capacity of the Verkhovna Rada and its parliamentary services.
Heidi Hautala, vice president of the European Parliament, was also present at the exchange between the two parliaments. Speaking to SWI swissinfo.ch, she captured a key message from the meeting: “Resilience is central to democracy.”
The European Parliament has strengthened the resilience of Ukrainian democracy in recent years by supporting reforms, particularly of the judiciary and parliamentary democracy, said Hautala. She cautioned though that “judiciary reform is still on the table and must be pushed forward”.
She was optimistic, however, about the progress made in Lugano: “The Ukrainian delegation expressed a clear need for participatory democracy. And on this, Switzerland is the best advisor,” said Hautala.
Since Ukraine's independence in the early 1990s, the country has been plagued by oligarchs who have disrupted the political system. “This led to many conflicts of interest and the misuse of public goods and services. With Ukraine's application for EU membership, it now has to take these problems more seriously than in previous years,” said Hautala.
Fight of the Ukrainians as an eye opener
Stefanie Bosshard, who heads the Swiss Democracy Foundation, also participated in the exchange between the parliamentary delegations in Lugano and has been impressed by the commitment of both parliamentarians and the Ukrainian people to defend democratic freedoms.
“For us, democracy has become something that we take for granted. But freedom and democracy can never be taken for granted, as the dedicated fight by the people in Ukraine shows,” she said.
Switzerland can help Ukraine with its expertise in participatory democracy, civic rights and federalism. Conversely, according to Bosshard, people in Switzerland could also be inspired by the strong engagement of the Ukrainian civil society.
Robust democracy as a link in a chain
Marija Pejčinović Burić, who took part in the parliamentary exchange as secretary-general of the Council of Europe, which includes Switzerland, told SWI that the Lugano conference was one element in a chain.
“Recovery is a pillar. But in addition to economic support, there also needs to be democratic resilience, without which building a stable system is not possible.” To strengthen this resilience, Pejčinović Burić highlighted the importance of strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption as top priorities.
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