Ukraine's Cabinet approves bill on honest lobbying and advocacy

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a draft law on honest lobbying and advocacy in Ukraine, reported the representative of the government in the Verkhovna Rada, Taras Melnychuk.

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The document is aimed at implementing the European Commission's recommendations regarding Ukraine's accession to the EU and is part of the government's anti-oligarchic action plan.

Lobbying is targeted legal or illegal influence on state and local government bodies, as well as on their officials, directed at them on behalf of another person, organization or group.

Advocacy is the activity of representing and protecting the interests of a client of an authorized person or organization with the aim of obtaining access to the benefits to which they are entitled, but cannot realize it.

It aims to ensure:

→ legal principles of lobbying in Ukraine in accordance with international practices and standards;
→ regulatory and legal regulation of the interaction of officials of state authorities, local self-government bodies with interested parties and lobbying subjects;
→ establishing transparent mechanisms for ensuring the activities of lobbying subjects and officials of state bodies and local self-government bodies and mechanisms for monitoring lobbying activities.

"The revised draft law takes into account the proposals made by the coalition of public organizations, particularly in the part about advocacy. Advocacy is not lobbying, and this is clearly stated in the ibll," Melnychuk stated.

The text of the document was made public by MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak.

The draft law establishes:

→ terminology in the field of lobbying and advocacy;
→ rights and obligations of lobbying subjects and advocacy subjects;
→ influence methods;
→ rules of ethical behavior of lobbying subjects;
→ creation of the Transparency Register;
→ the procedure for registration in the Transparency Register and exceptions to it;
→ access to the Transparency Register (open and free);
→ reporting of the lobbying entity entered into the Transparency Register;
→ the mechanisms of control over the activities of lobbying and advocacy subjects by monitoring compliance with legislation on lobbying and advocacy are defined.

According to the bill, the holder and administrator of the Transparency Register is the National Agency on Corruption Prevention. A person who intends to register as a subject of lobbying activity and/or subject of advocacy shall submit a clear list of information to the Register.

The information entered in the Transparency Register is public to the extent that it does not contradict the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Personal Data".

Information about lobbying contracts, funding sources, clients and beneficiaries of lobbying is entered into the Register (which is not commercial, state, banking or other information protected by law).

The adoption of the law "On Honest Lobbying and Advocacy in Ukraine" is one of the seven points that accompanied the granting of Ukraine the status of a candidate for joining the European Union.

Ukraine acquired the status of a candidate country for joining the European Union in 2022. At the same time, the European Commission provided Ukraine with an action plan that must be implemented in order to start negotiations on joining the EU.

Politico wrote that the European Union is preparing to officially announce the start of accession negotiations in December 2023.

The European Commission believes that Ukraine has fully fulfilled four of the seven conditions for the start of accession negotiations.