Policy Department, Directorate-General for Extern al Policies
The EU has a close coordination with the Council of Europe on alignment between Ukrainian law and
regional legal nor ms, hereunder implementation of the principle of non-dis criminat ion in t he Euro pean
Convention on Human Rights and ratification of the Istanbul Convention. In political dialogue with the
Government, the EU’s consistent message is that ratification of the Istanbul Convention is important
because the Co nvention is a complete pack age, not just a series o f stand-alone pr ovisi ons. A t the same
time, it must be acknowledged that the planned ratification of the Convention by the EU is also currently
blocked in the Council of Ministers. If the EU were to ratify the Convention, it would strengthen the ability
of EUDs, particularly in those countries with which the EU has partnership agreements, to advocate for
rat ificatio n of t he Con vent ion in polit ical dialo gue.
The EP has a strong and active bilateral relationship with the Ukrainian Parliament. Ukraine is one of si x EP
Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) priority countries and regions. There is also a
‘Ukraine support group’ of ca. 30 independent experts who can provide technical inputs to MEPs on a range
of them atic is sues . This ability to o btain detailed infor mation on the legislative issu es being enhances the
credibility of the EP in its interactions with Ukrainian counterparts. There has been an extensive
engagement on the Istanbul Convention ever since its first came onto the radar of the U kr ai nian
Parliament. This engagement has taken the form of dialogue and clarification of key concepts at bilateral
level and in meetings of the E uronest Parliamentary Assembly, and a visit by represent atives of Ukrainian
religio us a utho rities t o a s ess ion of the EP in Strasbourg.
Similar to T unis ia (see case stud y above), Ukr aine is a country wher e there is fert ile ground for reform and
cooperation on gender equality at bilater al level and as part of the Ea P. For Ukr aine too, the EU is
coor dinat ing with and providing funding for human rights and rule of law programmes implemented by
Council of Eu rope, among them the programme ‘Women’s Access to Jus tice: delivering on t he Istanbul
Protocol and other European gender equality standards in the EaP countries (2019-21).
The EU has significant ability to influence legal reform process es in Ukraine by v irtue of its extensive
institutional and legal cooperation with Ukraine at bilateral and multilateral levels and the deepening
economic ties between Uk raine and Eu rope (the EU ha s been Ukraine lar gest tr ading partner s ince 2015).
The bilateral cooperation between the EP and the Ukrainian Parliament is an additional means through
which the EU can engage in dialogue and share technical expertise and best practices in reform of
discr iminat ory la ws and in t he applicat ion of a s pecific gende r lens in la w-making . High levels of k nowledge
and technical expertise displayed by staff from the EU Delegation, th e EEAS and th e EP also contribute to
making Ukraine an example of good EU pr actice. Relevant EU inst itutions s hould remember to keep each
other informed and, where appropriate, to include each other in activities with Ukrainian counterparts
addr ess ing wo men’s eq ualit y in law.
9 Conclusions and recommendations
Europe can be jus tly proud of its global leadership role in the development and implementation of gender-
equal laws , policies an d practices. Eur opean laws and policies in this area represent examples of g ood
practice that can inspire parliamentarians and law reform advocates in third countries.
At a time where an incr easing number of coun tries across the wor ld are tak ing illiberal stances , the EU
needs to continue its strong support for reform of laws t hat discriminate against women. The EU has
numerous tools at its dis pos al t o su ppor t g ender equ alit y thr ou gh policy d ialog ues and bila teral
cooperation, as well as direct support to women’s organisations.