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Members of the European Parliament issued a statement asking President Volodymyr Zelensky not to pass the draft law on asset declarations due to concerns the law will undermine trust in reforms, German MEP Michael Gahler said on Sept. 7.
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, passed a bill on Sept. 5 to restore the requirement for top officials to declare their assets, an anti-corruption measure central to talks on Ukraine's accession to the European Union.
"We support the reinstatement of asset declarations," but fear the law as it stands will contribute to "undermining trust in reform efforts," the group of nine MEPs who signed the statement said.
However, the Verkhovna Rada made a number of amendments, one of which meant that there will be no public access to officials' asset declarations for one more year.
The system of compulsory asset declarations was originally instituted as part of the country's fight against corruption following the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. All declarations were open to the public, a level of transparency especially important for journalists and civil society.
At the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the requirement for submitting e-declarations was suspended and public access to the declarations was shut down. Officials have still been able to submit them on a voluntary basis.
The draft law only requires that law enforcement agencies will be able to check the declarations.
Zelensky said on Sept. 6 that he will decide whether to veto a draft law on asset declarations after consultations with Olha Stefanishyna, the deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Anti-corruption watchdogs and opposition lawmakers have argued that Ukraine's international partners are unlikely to accept the bill in this form.