For the first time since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, a delegation of Swiss parliamentarians was able to meet with Ukrainian deputies in Lugano to discuss the state of progress of the Verkhovna Rada reform process and parliament’s central role in the country’s reconstruction.

During the phase of Ukraine’s reconstruction, the outstanding political, economic and social issues will need to be closely followed by parliament, one of the cornerstones of democracy. In this context, a delegation from the Ukrainian parliament met with representatives from both chambers of the Federal Assembly on the fringes of the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022). This is the first time that there has been a parliamentary dimension to the series of annual reform conferences.

The Ukrainian side expressed its interest in Swiss expertise and experience in the field of decentralisation and direct democracy, including the referendum, as well as in the functioning of the Swiss education system and dual-track vocational education and training.

The two delegations also discussed the ongoing reform process in Ukraine: the focus was on draft laws aimed at increasing decision-making power at the local level and encouraging the involvement of civil society in the legislative consultation process, but also on the anti-corruption strategy recently adopted by the Ukrainian parliament.

National Council president Irene Kälin (Greens/AG) and her Ukrainian counterpart Ruslan Stefanchuk, president of the Verkhovna Rada, adopted a joint statement identifying the Ukrainian parliament’s priorities for the country’s reconstruction phase. This broadly follows the principles set out in the “Lugano Declaration”, which serves as a framework for the political process of reconstruction.

Irene Kälin and Ruslan Stefanchuk also held a bilateral meeting on the fringes of the conference. In view of Ukraine being granted candidate status to join the European Union, discussions focused on the Ukrainian parliament's roadmap for alignment with the acquis communautaire, the progress of reforms under the current martial law, and the expectations of the Verkhovna Rada vis-à-vis other European parliaments. The two presidents also exchanged views on potential obstacles to EU accession and the related legislative work, as well as on prospects for a resumption of dialogue with Russia.

The Swiss delegation led by National Council president Irène Kälin consisted of ten National Council members and six Council of States members, representing all parties and various parliamentary committees.

Further information about the conference can be found here:

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