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Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (MEP) commented for the School of Public Administration on the new government of Ukraine.

  1. What Ukrainian government should focus on in the short-run (first few weeks) and in the middle-run (first few months) perspective?

The Ukrainian government should continue with the vigorous reform process which was started by the previous government. Firstly, with regards to the rule of law, the focus should be on stabilizing the institutions dealing with the anti-corruption and making them fully functional. This aspect goes with the finalization of the judiciary reform. Confidence in the legal system will allow the SMEs to grow as well as will attract more foreign investment. The second equally important aspect is the Association Agreement implementation which is a long-term process composed out of many small steps. One of the current short-term priorities is implementing the phytosanitary standards as it will give possibility for the Ukrainian products to enter the EU market. Fulfilling this condition will allow not only filling in the Ukraine’s budget, but will make the Ukrainian products more competitive on the global scale. The other short-term goal is passing additional laws which would insure transparency in the energy sector, known as “Achilles heel” of Ukraine and a source of corruption, disputes and speculations. The final aspect is implementing the civil service law as the state needs strong EU-style institutions led by the highly qualified staff who would put the Soviet-style of management into past. All these aspects were discussed during the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, a body which was established by the Association Agreement with an aim to monitor the reform process.

There will be more short-term and urgent priorities to come, however the Ukrainian government should keep its focus on the broader picture – the implementation of the Association Agreement. In this regard, the newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister of European Integration gives hope that the process will be streamlined and focused. 

 

  1. What steps or decisions of previous governments the new government should not repeat?

The problem is deeper and goes beyond the mistakes of the previous leadership. The previous disputes were the challenge not only of the previous government, but the failure to deliver and live up to the expectations of Ukrainians since the Orange Revolution, an event which gave hope for democratic, equal and rule of law state. The political system of Ukraine was and still is rather weak; it lacks democratic practices and dialogue, but foremost it manifests little commitment to rigid and painful reform process. Nevertheless, as explained before – many reforms were started by the previous government, but the major dissatisfaction was the pace of reforms which is too slow, especially given the security and economic situation that Ukraine is in.

At the same time, it would be very unfair to put all responsibility on the previous or new government as there is also the Verknovna Rada and the President. Therefore, what is expected by many Ukrainians as well as by the wider international community is stronger cooperation, dialogue and political unity and foremost commitment to the reform process.

 

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski – Member of European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Group of the European People’s Party. Member of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee and the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. 

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