Today, reforms have become one of the main objectives for Ukraine. This is confirmed by the fact that reforms were a key issue at the recent summit of the Eastern Partnership in Brussels. For example, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker noted significant progress in reforming, but also mentioned that some objectives had not been achieved and stressed that the confidence of Western investors could be strengthened by reforming judiciary and intensifying the fight against corruption, the DW reports. In addition, the final declaration of the summit states that “the EU’s financial support to its partners, including Ukraine, will be conditioned by concrete reform steps.”
At the same time, it is the lack of reforms that has compelled the European Commission to refuse to provide to Ukraine another tranche of macro-financial assistance, amounting to 600 million euros. A press release on the body’s website indicates that Ukraine has fulfilled a large share of the policy commitments, but “four of the measures linked to the third and final tranche of this macro-financial assistance currently remain outstanding.” At the same time, the European Commission said they were encouraging Ukraine to maintain the reform momentum.
The need to implement reforms has also been emphasized by the US government. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a speech entitled “US and Europe: Strengthening Western Alliances”: “We are committed to the success of an independent and whole Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s future depends also on winning its internal struggle and implementing a broad range of economic, justice, security, and social sector reforms. We encourage Ukraine to continue building capable, trustworthy institutions that will reduce and eventually eliminate corruption, strengthen their judicial system, and deliver economic prosperity to her citizens.”
During the 25th IWCK Charity Bazaar, a charity fair held by the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, The Day asked the ambassadors present at the event to comment on their assessment of effectiveness of reforms being implemented in Ukraine, the public participation in them and Western partners’ assistance to Ukraine.
“YOUR COUNTRY SHOWS A POSITIVE DYNAMIC”
Gela DUMBADZE, Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine:
“I am noticing a positive dynamic of Ukraine’s development, despite the fact that you have temporarily lost some territories. We fully support Ukraine. We know this pain very well, because, as you know, we have had Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied. I wish your country peace and stability, because it is necessary for development.
“Your country, like Georgia, is on the right path of European integration and integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. There were a lot of meaningful visits this year. I just returned from Tbilisi, where I accompanied Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman and a large delegation. It was a very productive visit. An official visit of Foreign Minister of Georgia Mikheil Janelidze to Ukraine is scheduled for the end of the month. In this regard, it has also been a very fruitful year. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was in Georgia in July, this was the first state visit of the Ukrainian president to our country. This dynamic is being maintained, many concrete proposals are appearing, and we welcome and support it all in every way.”
“PEOPLE ARE NOTICING CHANGES IN THEIR EVERYDAY ENVIRONMENT, BUT THEY ARE NOT REGISTERING ANY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL”
Roman WASCHUK, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine:
“Reforms are taking place. I have already visited 22 regions of Ukraine and I see that from the united territorial community of Askania-Nova in Kherson Region to initiatives in Yaremche District in the Carpathians, people are working hard to get things moving. I think this is reflected in the sociological surveys that we sponsor: people are noticing changes in their everyday environment, but they are not registering any at the national level. Here, perhaps, we are dealing with the problem of communication, in particular, the way Ukrainian politicians talk about each other, and the way Ukrainian media present reality.
“I think that the Western nations’ support to Ukraine is at a rather high level, and with regard to the loans that have been provided, not even a half of these sums has been used by Ukraine so far. So here you have to organize better to use this assistance. This is also an important issue for Ukrainians at various levels.”
“THERE SHOULD BE MORE REFORM DRIVE”
Ernst REICHEL, Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine:
“It is a mixed picture we have. Good reform decisions on the one hand, and delays and setbacks on the other hand. So it is difficult to give a very clear answer, it is… as life, everything is complicated. Of course, there should be more reform effort, more drive. But one has to recognize that it is not easy. It is a very complicated process, it takes political will and effort, and not everybody benefits from each and every decision that is taken.”
“A LOT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE”
Isabelle DUMONT, Ambassador of France to Ukraine:
“Reforms are being implemented. It always takes time. Many reforms have already been done, but as everybody knows, there needs a lot more to be done. And we will be supporting these reforms to be implemented.”
“REFORMS SHOULD HAPPEN FASTER AND MORE EFFECTIVELY”
Yonet Can TEZEL, Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine:
“Reforms are continuing, and it is, first of all, the big step to start this. Half of the task is to start them, and you have started. Now I see a lot of positive changes. Some of them could be faster. I know people are not always satisfied, that is understandable. Reforms do not happen just like that. There are good stories, there are not so good stories. So, we have to take inspiration from the good stories and still support Ukraine in its reform. We know from our own experience that is not easy. But it should happen a little bit faster and a little bit more effectively.”
“YES, REFORM PROCESS IS GOING. BUT ONE THING THAT IS IMPORTANT IS THEIR IMPLEMENTATION STAGE”
Shigeki SUMI, Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine:
“Yes, reform process is going. But one thing that is important is their implementation, their implementation stage. There is always sort of a backlash, but I hope, people are really united to promote reforms, whether they like it or not.”
“POLITICIANS MUST BE MORE HONEST IN THEIR WORK”
Manoj Kumar BHARTI, Ambassador of India to Ukraine:
“Well, reforms are fine, because they are taken in a democratic country. They need steps, they need policies, and this requires many discussions and changes. I represent a country which is the world’s largest democracy. We have a much more vibrant and chaotic democratic system. And we know that for making any policy, it is not an easy process. You have to bring everyone in tune with your idea. Only then can a policy take effect. I know that policies are being implemented and people would like these policies and their implementations to be faster than what it is now. But my advice for the people – be more patient and give it more time. And for the politicians, I’d like them to be a little more honest in their work and in their orientation towards new policy formation. There are certain very genuine demands of those people who were behind the Revolution of 2014, which basically aim at reducing corruption. Now there are a lot of complaints that no action has been taken in that regard. So, I would like to say that that is the concern of a common man and a common woman, and that should be given more attention. Indian businessmen who work here are saying that corruption level has been increasing very, very fast here. They are facing corruption at different levels in their work. So, I would like to make this suggestion to everyone: let us fight this particular issue and give it a priority.”
“AS LONG AS THE LAWS ARE NOT BEING EXECUTED, NO SUCCESS WILL COME”
Krasimir MINCHEV, Ambassador of Bulgaria to Ukraine:
“It is difficult to say unequivocally whether reforms are successful. Yes, reforms are continuing, and it probably applies to all areas. But there are some that need to get more attention, especially ones dealing with the fight against corruption and regulation of the economy. It is also necessary to amend laws that do not comply with EU norms. You need to do a lot of work indeed. You have set yourself the ultimate goal of becoming a member of the EU in the future, so much needs to be changed. As I remember it, it took Bulgaria over a decade to change its laws and bring them in line with those in force in the EU. This should happen here too. But not only that. In addition to changing the laws, you need to execute them. After all, as long as the laws are not being executed, no success will come.”
“WE RECOGNIZE THE EFFORTS THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS MADE”
Melissa O’Rourke, Ambassador of Australia to Ukraine:
“We recognize the efforts that the government has made in terms of trying to advance the reform agenda. Obviously, it is an uphill battle, because there is a number of things they are trying to do at the same time. We acknowledge the efforts being made today and encourage them to continue on that path.
Certainly, I think that the efforts being made, notably by partners like the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, is going a long way in terms of providing support. Of course, more is always welcome. But they are doing the best with what they can.”