One of the main reforms is judicial.
The President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, who won the elections largely thanks to promises to lead the fight against corruption and to implement the necessary reforms, assured of its determination not to retreat from the reformist course. In his address after conclusion of the 21st summit of the EU – Ukraine President Zelensky reiterated that he has the political will to fight corruption, and announced that anti-corruption court – the establishment of which was constantly postponed the previous presidential administration, is ready to start work in September this year.
The European Union announced the allocation of Ukraine more than EUR 100 million support for the implementation of various programs including the fight against corruption. However, the EU funding of the second tranche of 500 million euros within the framework of the current programme of macro-financial assistance will be implemented only in case of observance by Ukraine of a number of conditions, including reform and maintaining participation in the program of the International monetary Fund (IMF). Negotiations over a new three-year IMF programme is scheduled to begin after the parliamentary elections and the formation of a new government. The new program as the previous cooperation with the Fund, will involve carrying out Ukraine’s structural reforms in exchange for continued financial assistance.
Of reform – anti-corruption, the judiciary, the fight against smuggling and illegal raiding, land reform, which implies the sale of agricultural land privatization and other reforms – President Zelensky said and held in early July in Canada Ukrainian forum in which he also urged the international audience to invest in Ukraine.
What reforms are needed first and foremost to Ukraine, and when can we expect the real conduct that with the Russian service “voice of America” addressed to a number of experts on Ukraine.
“There are two types of the reforms which Zelensky needs to start immediately. The first is economic reform. Ukraine is today the poorest country in Europe according to the IMF,” says the editor of the blog UkraineAlert analytical center Atlantic Council Melinda Hering (Melinda Haring, Atlantic Council), noting that today the economic growth of Ukraine is 2-3% per year, while the country needs a growth of 7-8%. According to made in February this year the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Oksana Markarova, like an expert, with the current economic growth rate Ukraine will take 50 years to catch up in terms of life, for example, Poland.
Reform, as noted by Melinda Hering, would be able to bring in the budget of Ukraine the amount of from 10 to 12 billion dollars.
“These reforms will not only bring a huge amount of money that can be invested in the development of schools and infrastructure, but will also allow you to obtain funds from the IMF, probably another 3-4 billion dollars”, says Hering.
Jonathan Katz , senior research fellow of the German Marshall Fund (Jonathan Katz, GMF), also notes that anti-corruption and customs reform, and also reforms in taxation, is urgently needed.
“The absence of these reforms hinders Ukraine’s economy and allows the oligarchs and others continue to use the system in their favor, and not for the benefit of the Ukrainian people”, – said Jonathan Katz.
Eric Hontz (Erik Hontz), program Manager for Eurasia at the Center for international private enterprise (Centre for International Private Enterprise) notes the need to strengthen the work of the Antimonopoly Committee of the country.
“If Zelensky really wants to achieve fast and tangible results, say, in the next 12-24 months, it is necessary to strengthen the Antimonopoly Committee”, – said Eric Hontz, according to which it will lead to increased market competition, transparency and lower prices.
“The population will be easy to understand the need to break up large conglomerates, which, in fact, fix prices in a number of areas. It will also allow private business, which is active in Ukraine, to play a meaningful role in the country’s development and to compete in the market, access to which is now blocked by the oligarchs,” says Eric Hontz, noting that today, both the Ukrainian and the Western campaign without political connections often do not have access to equal competition in many areas.
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According to the expert, a number of reforms such as the reform of corporate governance, which provides, among other things, the presence of independent Directors in companies with state participation, and strengthening the independence of audit has already yielded positive results.
“The program of corporatization of a few large enterprises are beginning to yield results. We see less corruption, better financial results and better rates of borrowing on international markets,” says Eric Hontz, according to which the corresponding reform of the state oil and gas company of Ukraine “Naftogaz” still meets resistance from the current Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.
“I hope that it was politically ill-considered plan, and “Naftogaz” will not depend on the position of Prime Minister,” said Eric Hontz.
Experts say that one of the main reforms is the judiciary, which was not achieved major changes during the time of President Petro Poroshenko.
“Poroshenko claimed that he has been pursuing reforms in the Supreme court and is going to conduct a large-scale cleanup of the judicial system. It is, in fact, was not true. Yes, the Supreme court became a little better. Poroshenko, in the end, agreed to create an anti-corruption court. But the point is that nobody has been convicted for corruption, and no one trusts the judicial system,” notes Melinda Hering.
“It’s time for an anti-corruption bodies really started to do their job and to do it smoothly and without that intervention, which we have seen in Ukraine over the past two years, notes Jonathan Katz. To have independent courts, so that people, including investors – Ukrainian or international – could trust them absolutely necessary. You need an independent judiciary and independent, nearuniversal chief Prosecutor”.
“If you look at the level of foreign direct investment, they do not grow. Foreign investors know that their investments are unprotected in Ukraine, because the judicial system was not reformed. Knows this, and Zelensky,” adds Melinda Hering, according to which the President of Ukraine needs to implement the judicial and economic reform “decisively” and “ASAP.”
“No reforms, in fact, will not be completed until the pending judicial reform”, – said Eric Hontz.
Experts agree that the majority of seats in Parliament is the party of President Vladimir Zelensky “servant of the people” and, if necessary, will be able to form the necessary majority for reforms.
According to the survey of Kyiv international Institute of sociology, held from 25 June to 7 July, support for the party Zelensky is around 48.5 per cent. Second place with 14.1%, and is “Oppositional platform For life”, Viktor Medvedchuk, who is considered Pro-Russian politician, the party of Petro Poroshenko “European solidarity” has the support of 9.2%, Batkivshchyna Yulia Tymoshenko – of 6.2%, for a new batch of Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s “the Voice” is ready to vote approximately 4.4%, and the party of Igor Smeshko “Strength and honor” from 4.1% closes the “six” of the parties who will be able to enter the Parliament, according to the survey.
Despite optimism about reform, interviewed by the Russian service “voice of America” experts see cause for concern.
“When talking about Ukraine, the real implementation of reforms is always an issue,” says Eric Hontz, noting that the potential new coalition can have serious differences in approaches to political and economic reforms. However, anti-corruption and judicial reforms are likely to have General support in the new coalition, he said.
“The team Zelensky is largely made up of people from show business who have no political experience – said and Melinda Hering. But we can also see there is young reformers in his party list have a strong personality”.
As the expert emphasizes, at present it is difficult to draw conclusions, it is necessary to wait for major assignments after the parliamentary elections to such posts as the attorney-General and the Prime Minister, that would send a clear signal of how seriously the President Zelensky and the new government attitude towards reform.
Jonathan Katz notes that for the new President and Parliament is not only necessary political will to conduct reforms, but also the development and adoption of quality legislation.
“Too often the government Poroshenko we saw laws that were adopted but were not really ready to be executed, or these laws had shortcomings, says Jonathan Katz. – It is very important that the new party, such as party Zelensky, who has no legislative experience, worked closely with partners in government and beyond, including civil society, to ensure the quality of laws and without legal loopholes. At times, the Ukrainian legislation contains loopholes that are exploited by the oligarchs and others in their interests.”
“Today, Ukraine is indeed a unique opportunity for reform. Let’s hope that the new government and the new President will be able of these opportunities to properly use it”, adds Jonathan Katz.