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Survey results of round table participants 26 February 2009 “Lobbying in Ukraine and abroad – experience, problems, perspectives”

1. How open is Ukrainian society to instituting legalization of lobbying in the current political legal reality?

Half of the survey participants believe that society is unprepared to institutionalizing lobbying at this point due to:

  • an ideological inertia of the negative stereotype perceptions about lobbying which date back to soviet times;
  • a lack of interest in clear lobbying rules from both  representatives of government as well as objects of the lobbying;
  • a lack of a societal understanding of the essence of this phenomenon and therefore a negative perception of it;
  • a low level of legal awareness and political culture among citizens.

Simultaneously, the rest of the participants in the survey positively assess the possibility of normalizing lobbying according to current politico-legal norms, defining them as a necessary pre-requisite for regaining citizen trust towards the state and a means of reducing the corruption level during the ratifying of normative-legal acts.   Yet, realistically, it is possible only if the negative attitude of citizens towards lobbying is overcome.   Regarding this, the surveyed felt that more attention should be accorded to the problem of lobbying as a legitimate and significant form of communication between government and society, rather than selectively focusing on publicizing lobby scandals.

2.  What perspectives and dangers does the normalization of lobbying hold for Ukraine?

Among the basic perspectives of regulating lobbying in Ukraine the survey participants cited:

  • reduction of corruption in governmental institutions during the ratification of normative-legal acts;
  • establishment of a transparent system of ratifying state decisions;
  • structuring society by increasing group consolidation of citizens around common interests during their protection and propagation in governmental institutions;
  • access of citizens through their associations to the decision making process;
  • possibility of an effective influence of citizens on decisions which are inevitable for the residents;
  • professionalizing of  lobbying activity;
  • need to increase legal and political awareness among citizens.

Essential risks cited:

  • in cases of lack of  feedback – progress of latent corruption schemes leading  to increased corruption;
  • halting by certain interested groups the normalizing of the practice of lobbying;
  • legalizing bribery;
  • development of shadow lobbying;
  • fictional nature of legal lobbying in Ukraine.

3.  How will the effective balance of the rights and obligations of participants of lobbying as well as the existing of a registration and control system be guaranteed?

Survey participants felt that the basic aspects of balance would be achieved by:

  • legal demarcation of lobbying from related spheres of interest which are not lobbying;
  • a development of cooperative moral-ethical rules of behavior during lobbying akin to the code of lobby behavior and the ethical code of national deputies of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers and state employees;
  • guaranteeing transparency of lobbying by public announcements in media of information about lobbyists and clients of lobby services, financial expenditures for lobbying and the like;
  • studying  foreign experience in lobbying with a view of adapting it to Ukraine’s  national legal system of norms;
  • the activeness of civil society.
  • criminal responsibility for abuses during the lobbying process.
  • clear rules of conduct;
  • the delegation of a special government institution to maintaining count of registrations of lobbying agents;
  • an introduction of an elective system which will stimulate deputies to more fruitful work with electorates in the mid-election period;
  • cancellation or limitation of deputy immunity;
  • an open registration process.