Marshall Center Conducts Virtual Seminars on Oversight, Budgeting with Members of Ukraine’s Parliament
By College of International and Security Studies
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN (Dec. 18, 2020) – Dr. Valbona Zeneli, Marshall Center’s chair of the Strategic Initiatives Department, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Eric Ager, Marshall Center’s Ukraine Program manager, Dr. Sebastian von Munchow, Marshall Center’s course director of the European Security Seminar – East, and experts from the U.S. Congressional Research Service, General Accounting Office, and Congressional Budget Office conducted a virtual seminar with members of Ukraine’s Verkhovan Rada (Parliament) Dec. 8 and 10.
The two-day seminar focused on the challenges faced by members of Ukraine’s Parliament in their efforts to institutionalize methods of conducting legislative oversight of the security and defense sectors with an emphasis on the defense budgeting process. As Ukraine transforms its governance mechanisms in accordance with its constitution and stated goal of increased Euro-Atlantic integration, events like this help parliamentarians to develop legislation in a way that furthers democratic development and enhances understanding of civilian oversight within the legislative branch of government.
Dr. Andrew Michta, dean of the Marshall Center’s College of International Security Studies, opened the event by thanking the attendees “for taking time to attend and to focus on this important area of democratic governance during a period of difficulty in the world and in Ukraine.”
During the course of the event, Ukrainian Members of Parliament asked direct questions of the speakers and discussed the challenges that they face in executing their legislative responsibilities under significant resource constraints, but emphasized their commitment to understanding other models of oversight and to implementing changes to the Ukrainian system in order to improve outcomes.
Mariana Bezuhla, deputy chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, expressed her gratitude to the speakers and expressing a desire to continue the conversation with events in the future.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, director of the Marshall Center, closed the event encouraging participants “to continue your efforts to improve the processes for oversight and for approving the budgets of the defense and security institutions of Ukraine” and noting his own encouragement that “Ukrainian parliamentarians remain committed implementing the principles of democratic governance.”
The virtual event was a continuation of the longstanding partnership between the Marshall Center and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.