On 5 July, the CHESNO Movement and a number of other civil society organisations, local government associations and the media sent an appeal to the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Mecola.
Taking the opportunity, the civil society organizations of Ukraine express their gratitude to you for the reliable partnership that Ukraine urgently requires in such a difficult time to protect our statehood from the terrorist state of Russia.
We are grateful to the European Parliament for the Resolution of 15 June 2023 on the sustainable reconstruction and integration of Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic community (2023/2739(RSP)), supporting our European integration process and the restoration of Ukraine. Integrity in the reconstruction of Ukraine is an absolute value for Ukrainians, our Western partners, and the taxpayers of those countries that help rebuild our country. Therefore, the rules to be approved by the parliament must provide transparency and integrity.
We appreciate the fact that the European Parliament provided a critical assessment of the draft law 5655 in the Resolution, which was opposed by local governments in Ukraine and their key associations (Association of Ukrainian Cities), the National Union of Architects of Ukraine, the expert community, leading civil society organizations, and the media. Such resistance arose due to the non-transparent work of the committee, which ignored the engagement of all stakeholders and their recommendations at the discussion stage of the draft law.
The fact that the draft law carried certain corruption risks was also emphasized by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), whose comments were not considered during the final vote. The text of the draft law was not publicly available before the vote.
The Ukrainian parliament adopted the law without considering and discussing several thousand amendments to the text.
That is why, a few hours after the vote, citizens collected more than 25,000 votes under a petition to President Zelenskyy demanding to veto the legislative initiative.
As it became known, the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk, sent you a letter after voting for the Resolution noting “possible changes and additions to the law after the entry into force based on the results of consultations.” We draw your attention to the fact that if the law comes into force, its provisions will also be in force.
This carries the following risks:
● The state disclaims responsibility for the legality of construction when granting the right to construction.
● Centralization of powers in one Ministry.
● Private urban planning control in the proposed form directly contradicts the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine.
● Local self-government is deprived of the principal part of its rights, first of all, regarding the development under the approved planning of territories.
● Weakening of internal anti-corruption control over the legality of actions of officials responsible for urban development.
● Amnesty for illegal construction, conducted before the entry into force of 5655 through corruption agreements, as a result of which the relevant documents were obtained.
● A significant increase in the risks of violent confrontation between the public and developers, as the rights of the public to control construction are reduced, and the authorities are deprived of effective mechanisms to stop illegal construction.
The list of the risks is not exhaustive.
All this will take place in the conditions of post-war recovery, significantly weakening the process and making it opaque, despite the powerful digital component of the draft law, which, if a number of obvious shortcomings and risks of 5655 are eliminated, can form the basis of the urban development code. Unfortunately, the speaker of the parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, did not mention a single word in his appeal that for several months, a working group has been developing an urban planning code in the parliament, which can become a quality alternative to 5655. Many stakeholders are part of the working group, and the work process is entirely public. The digital component proposed in 5655 can form the basis of the urban planning code. Digitization, which 5655 supposedly offers, has been working in Ukraine for two years and is supported by society.
The situation with 5655 is a precedent for the system of Ukrainian lawmaking. If we assume that the draft law, which was adopted without the engagement of stakeholders and contains corruption risks, will come into force, then this is a signal to the party in power that, in the future, it will be possible to neutralize high-quality parliamentarism. This is a direct threat to democracy.
We should also note that several organizations that covered the corruption risks of the 5655 initiative faced pressure on the part of some representatives of the Servant of the People party of power; in addition, they recorded manifestations of censorship in the Government Courier — the official publication of the Cabinet of Ministers, which after publication, removed the article on the work on the urban development code from the site.
Considering the above, the public sector asks the European Parliament to continue as a reliable partner of the people of Ukraine, which, according to the Constitution, is the only source of power. We ask you to help us, citizens, to build a democratic state with transparent and accountable work of the authorities. If there is a meeting with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada and the executive branch regarding 5655, who ignored the position of some stakeholders during the development of the draft law, we kindly ask:
To engage representatives of the public sector, experts, associations of local self-government, and architects who reasonably criticized draft law 5655 in its discussion.
This letter is signed by the following organizations:
All-Ukranian Association "Automaidan"
Media “MIRROR OF THE WEEK”
Institute of Legislative Ideas
Center of United Actions
National Union of architects of Ukraine
Architectural chamber of NUAU
All-Ukrainian Association of Local Governments «Association of Ukrainian Cities»
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