Yesterday’s news was clear: the President of Ukraine vetoed the laws on environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental assessment, adopted by the Parliament in early October this year. Formally speaking this cancelled Parliament’s vote on both laws and now they are back for re-consideration by the Parliament to take account of President’s proposals.

President’s key proposal for both laws is simple: both laws need some further work to make them consummate.  Yet, these proposals have a particular feature: the President neither proposes to abolish the laws, nor he suggests any specific amendments – a usual approach when the President exercises his right to veto. If the Parliament agrees with the President, the laws will be returned to the environmental policy committee, redrafted and put for voting again. Otherwise, the Parliament may overcome President’s veto – something very unlikely to happen (it requires 2/3 of the constitutional membership of the Parliament, i.e. 300 votes in favor).

The difficulty with re-drafting is that some President’s comments have systemic nature. E.g. both laws were subject to criticism by the President on the grounds of their low quality, which leads to disambiguation, lack of clarity and certainty. In turn, this undermines legal certainty principle, an important element of the rule of law. These arguments are valid and our experts have repeatedly raised such concerns before.

The need for amending the text was clear. From political and practical perspective the option was to do it now or later (after several years of practical implementation when gaps would become clear). The President chose the former.