Anti-Corruption Efforts in Ukraine


The EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine was established in response to the Ukrainian ‘Revolution of Dignity’. Lynn Sheehan describes its work and progress.

The Revolution of Dignity

In the winter of 2013/2014, the people of Ukraine embarked on a series of demonstrations that culminated in the ‘Revolution of Dignity’. One of the key demands of the protesters was to bring an end to the corruption that had plagued the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

This demand was intrinsically linked with the population’s lack of confidence in the rule of law. The initial protests were sparked by the decision of the then-president Victor Yanukovych, in November 2013, to suspend preparations for the signature of an association agreement with the EU.

Following over 90 days of dignified protest by the general public, the president eventually fled. The protesters subsequently broke into his vast residential compound outside Kyiv, finding a range of acquisitions indicative of an opulent and extravagant lifestyle. In response to the revolution, the Council of the EU decided to establish the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine (EUAM).

Understanding EUAM

Officially launched in December 2014, EUAM is a common security and defence policy mission under the European External Action Service, led by Ms Frederica Mogherini (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy). It is one of 11 such EU missions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

EUAM’s focus is on police reform, but it is also tasked with advising on prosecutorial and judicial reform and supports the full range of Ukrainian law enforcement bodies. The mission works in cooperation with a range of EU Commission-funded projects targeting, among other things, corruption, judicial, and law-enforcement body reform.

Lynn Sheehan is an Irish solicitor and currently deployed as deputy head of operations to EUAM. Writing in a personal capacity for the Gazette, she sheds light on the work of this mission at the front line of anti-corruption efforts.

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