Pres. of Venice Commission: Decentralization amendments bear no risks of federalization
Venice Commission President, Gianni Buquicchio, has told UNIAN in an exclusive interview over the phone from Venice about the position of the Commission regarding Ukraine’s constitutional amendments, whether they meet the European standards and whether they will lead to the federalization of Ukraine.
On Friday, October 23, the Venice Commission published its recommendations for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine concerning judicial reform and decentralization. While the Ukrainian media were rather informative in their anticipation of the verdict on the first issue, the issue of decentralization amendments “got lost" in this information flow.
UNIAN asked Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission, whether the decentralization amendments are in line with the European standards, and whether they will lead to the federalization of Ukraine.
The Venice Commission has adopted its conclusions regarding constitutional amendments on decentralization and the judiciary system. What’s the general opinion of the Venice Commission on the constitutional amendments on decentralization?
We gave an opinion in last July on concerning the draft constitutional amendment on decentralization, which was quite positive concerning the work made by the Constitutional Mission of Ukraine. Then the amendment has been modified, revised, and we’ve revised the one made by the Secretariat today, in the presence of the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.
Indeed, the result is a very good one, a very positive step forward. All the substantial recommendations of the Venice Commission have been accepted, and now I hope sincerely that these Constitutional amendments will be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, in order to become part of the Constitution.
When this legislation was adopted in the first reading in Ukraine we heard an opinion that this one can destroy the Ukrainian sovereignty. Is it so?
No. This is really not true at all. There are some fears among some political parties in Ukraine that this will bring the country towards federal state, but this is not the case. The amendments are really in line with European Standards, with the Chapter on Local Autonomies. So, we don’t see any risk for the federalization of the country.
So, Ukraine can go ahead with this law, as I understand?
Yes, indeed, and it must go ahead.
May I also have your comment on the judiciary?
There was also a very good work done by the Constitutional Commission. We made several recommendations in order to improve draft amendments, and all the recommendations have been followed. So we had very nice and constructive discussion during our meeting this morning, and all the political forces present here representing the Ukrainian authorities agreed on the opinion of the Venice Commission. We had some light modifications, but again, I must say that we are extremely pleased with the work made by the Constitutional Commission and the follow-up given to our recommendations.
UNIAN memo.Gianni Buquicchio was born November 19, 1944 in Bari (Italy). In 1967 he graduated from the Law Faculty of the Univercity of Bari. In 1968-1970 he was a trainee-lawyer in Bar of Bari. From 1971 to 1983 he worked at Division of Public Law of the Directorate of Legal Affairs at the Council of Europe. In 1981-1994 he was responsible for the Conferences of European Ministers of Justice. From 1990 to 1996 he was Head of the Division of the Legal Advisor and Treaty Office of the Directorate of Legal Affairs at the Council of Europe. In 1990 he became Secretary of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission).
During the years 1996-2009 he was Director, Secretary of the Venice Commission.
On November 30, 2009 he retired from the Council of Europe.
On December 12, 2009, he was elected President of the Venice Commission, and was re-elected in December, 2011 and in December, 2013.
Gianni Buquicchio is a Doctor of Law.