Eurointegration in Verkhovna Rada: Concussive week after EU's criticism

Author : Ruslan Tkachenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada seems to beet a record: a crazy number of Eurointegration bills are scheduled for consideration
12:29, 21 June 2017

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Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada seems to beet a record: a crazy number of Eurointegration bills are scheduled for consideration during this week. The trend is new and optimistic, but this only happened after EU’s crushing criticism of the Ukrainian parliament.

So, at the end of last week, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli strongly criticized the work of the legislature, where, due to certain interests, the process of reforms is blocked. It is possible that such a "pro-European" agenda for this plenary week is a definite answer to our EU partners.

Of course, there are doubts that at a shock pace, it would be possible to vote on bills that are developed for the implementation of the Association Agreement, but already half a year are delayed by the Verkhovna Rada. By the way, the Parliamentary Expert Group has repeatedly stated that the average deadline for the adoption of one important European integration law was prolonged for a year which is unacceptable. We hope that EU criticism will have a positive effect on the situation.

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First, it is necessary to adopt a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada on the appeal to the European Parliament on the introduction of additional trade preferences for EU products originating from Ukraine, since in the EU has shifted the process of improving the access of Ukrainian exporters to the EU market. In particular, on June 6, ambassadors of the EU countries reached an agreement on temporal autonomous trade measures in favor of Ukraine. The Ministry of Economic Development is waiting for the final decision of the EU to grant Ukraine additional trade preferences to the Ukraine-EU summit, which would take place on July 13.

Therefore, the relevant resolution should be adopted by the Ukrainian parliament as soon as possible, as it meets the interests of domestic producers.

Let us dwell on a few fundamental bills that are relevant to European integration, scheduled for this week. It is about production of products originating from Ukraine, which is important in the context of both domestic consumption and exports.

Principles of organic production are the same for all

Verkhovna Rada to consider a progressive draft law of Ukraine "On Basic Principles and Requirements for Organic Production, Circulation, and Marking of Organic Products," which establishes requirements for the production, marking and circulation of organic products and their certification. It is going to create a system of legal regulation of organic production similar to that in force in the EU, in accordance with Regulations 834/2007 and 889/2008.

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Despite the positive trends in the legal regulation of this area, some of the provisions of the bill are not in line with EU law.

Regulations are acts of direct action, and the general principles of organic production are unified throughout the European Union. And the draft law arbitrarily interprets a number of concepts provided for in Article 2 of Regulation 834/2007, they unsystematically sets out the principles and requirements for the introduction of organic production, which might complicate the recognition of the equivalence of our production and control systems in order to facilitate trade.

The law of the EU does not comply with the provisions of article 23, paragraph 2, of the bill, which regulates the requirements for organic production during the transitional period: a transitional period for organic crops is foreseen in respect of land plots for the cultivation of annual crops, whose duration cannot be less than 24 months. At the same time, Article 36.1 of Regulation 889/2008 clarifies that such a transitional period should be applied during the two years prior to sowing.

Article 24 of the draft law defines a non-exhaustive list of requirements for production in comparison with the list provided for in Article 40 of Regulation 889/2008. Moreover, the same article states that the establishment of requirements other than those provided by this law is not allowed. Article 25 of the bill establishes essentially identical grounds for suspending and canceling a certificate by the certification body, which makes it possible under the same conditions to take different decisions and does not comply with the principle of legal certainty enshrined in the EU law, according to which the norms of legislation should be clearly formulated without contradictions.

The requirements of the bill to mark organic products do not comply with the EU law. In particular, the EU regulations do not require a written approval by the organic certification body.

Animal feeds should not contain antibiotics

Another "food" document is the draft law "On Safety and Hygiene of Forms" No 2845, which regulates relations in the market of feed, feed additives, and premixes, establishes strict production requirements and responsibility for product quality, unifies the terminology in order to ensure harmonization with the legislation of the EU. The bill takes into account the vast majority of EU regulations: 178/2002, 767/2009, 183/2005 and 1831/2003. Moreover, it contains certain inconsistencies with the specified acts of the EU legislation.

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Thus, article 21, paragraph 4, of the draft law provides that withdrawn fodder, which cannot be returned to circulation, should be used for purposes other than consumption of animal, or are to be destroyed. However, Article 20 of Regulation 178/2002 does not provide for alternatives to the destruction of fodder that does not meet the safety requirements. Also, the draft law does not contain provisions contained in Annex II to Regulation 183/2005 on the monitoring of dioxin in feeds.

As foreseen in EU law, it is appropriate to empower the competent authority to adopt regulations that restrict the content of certain types of raw materials and the limits of certain feed additives. The relevant rules are set out in Articles 6 and 8 of Regulation 767/2009, Article 5 of Regulation 1831/2003 that prohibit the use of food additives as feed additives for antibiotics, except for coccidiostatics and histomonostats. The provisions of Article 19 of the draft law contradict the aforementioned norms.

In general, the bill does not contradict Ukraine's obligations under the Association Agreement and takes into account most of the provisions of the relevant legislation of the EU and may be revised.

Energy efficiency of buildings

There were several alternative initiatives in the parliament that would create regulatory framework and launch procedures for independent monitoring of energy efficiency certificates of buildings, create conditions for rational energy consumption, which in the long run would lead to a reduction in heating costs.

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Of these, only the draft law of Ukraine "On Energy Efficiency of Buildings" No. 4941-d was submitted for consideration. This document is one of the keys to launching the Energy Efficiency Fund, which should implement large-scale energy modernization at the expense of the funds raised by the state.

Undoubtedly, the problem of building waste and energy efficiency issues should be considered in the complex, therefore, the bill No. 1581-d "On Housing and Communal Services" should also be adopted.

Draft Law No. 4941-d generally takes into account the requirements and criteria of European law on energy efficiency of buildings, energy certification of buildings, minimum requirements for energy efficiency, economically feasible level of minimum energy efficiency requirements, etc.

Telecommunications: the same mistakes

As we have repeatedly emphasized, systemic legislative changes have long come to a halt in telecommunications. But instead there are only a variety of initiatives, sometimes controversial, sometimes debatable. Bills, the norms of which are contrary to the EU law, were passed again for consideration by the parliament.

A number of inconsistencies with EU law have been corrected in the draft law "On Electronic Trust Services" No. 4685, prepared for the second reading.

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Conformity assessment in the field of electronic trust services has been conducted by conformity assessment bodies accredited in accordance with accreditation legislation (in the previous version, this function was to be performed through an audit).

At the same time, in the future, it is advisable to clarify the norms for bringing liability for damage caused by an unskilled or qualified service provider. In the first case, the fact of the intention or negligence, in accordance with EU law, must be proved by the person who has suffered damage. In the second case, the fact of the damage is considered proven, unless the qualified supplier proves otherwise.

Another is the situation with the resonance bill number 3549-1 "On electronic communications", which will be considered in the repeated first reading. It did not take into account a number of important comments from experts, so in fact the document does not meet the obligations of Ukraine under the Association Agreement with the EU.

Thus, Annex XVII-3 to Section IV obliges Ukraine to implement a series of acts of the European Union that establish common frameworks for the provision of electronic communications services. Instead, Bill No. 3549-1 proposes a different model of market regulation.

In general, the parliament has a chance to work fruitfully before summer holidays and on the eve of the July Ukraine-EU summit.

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