The delegation of the National Democratic Institute (U.S.) and deputies of the European Parliament have prepared 51 recommendations to get ready for the 2019 elections in Ukraine, in particular, they recommended Facebook opening an office in Kyiv, regional director of programs of the Eurasian region at the National Democratic Institute Laura Jewett has said.
Facebook should open an office in Ukraine and, together with other digital platforms, unite to fight disinformation … If we are talking about fighting Kremlin interference to ensure stability in the country, then social networks and digital platforms should help Ukraine in these aspirations. All candidates must have equal access to the media. You also need to combat with the negative impact of misinformation. It is necessary to make efforts to combat manifestations of political corruption, including falsification, and to monitor the financing of parties, she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Saturday.
According to Jewett, it is also necessary to adhere to the equal gender representation of women and men.
Candidates’ campaigns should rest on constructive proposals, be aimed at unification, and the media should note that this is political advertising, not information, she explained.
In turn, MEP Dariusz Rosati noted the intensification of misinformation in Ukraine.
Our recommendations are aimed at encouraging the Ukrainian authorities to adopt key reforms in the electoral legislation and beyond, which will help ensure that the elections are fair and transparent, he explained.
MEP Rebecca Harms clarified that the need to introduce a proportional electoral system instead of a mixed one had been discussed at a meeting with Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy.
After the meeting with the CEC (Central Electoral Commission) we recommended the parliament include internally displaced persons and labor migrants in the electoral process, she added.
In addition, the delegation recommended that resources be provided to the CEC for updating technical tools to combat cyber attacks.
Ukraine in January-September 2018 exported fruits and berries in the amount of $157 million, which is 40% more compared to the same period last year. According to the Ukrsadprom association, the main products in this group were walnuts, which were delivered for $69 million, frozen fruits and berries worth $61 million, apples and pears for $10 million.
“The growth in exports of walnuts (from 13,000 tonnes in the first nine months of 2017 to 20,000 tonnes in the same period of the current year), apples and pears (from 9,000 tonnes to 29,000 tonnes respectively) was the most notable in natural terms,” according to the website of the association.
The main sales market remained the European Union, supplies to which bring about two-thirds of all foreign exchange earnings. In January-September 2018 the largest purchases of fruits were made by Poland ($32.3 million), France ($11.7 million), Belarus ($10.9 million), Turkey ($10.6 million), the Netherlands ($8.8 million), Germany ($7.4 million), and Italy ($7.2 million).
“If not to take into account imports of exotic fruits to Ukraine (mainly citrus fruits and bananas), for the three quarters of 2018 the surplus of foreign trade in fruits and berries reached $75 million,” the association said.
Ukrainian apples are exported to more than 50 countries, while they are mainly purchased by Belarus (43%), Moldova (20%), and Sweden (10%).
The European Union is ready to begin commercial arbitration with Ukraine to lift a moratorium on exports of round timber as the one violating the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze has said. “Unfortunately, Ukraine really violates the Association Agreement with the introduction of the moratorium on round timber exports. This obligation will be considered as part of commercial arbitration. And the European Union is ready to start this arbitration between Ukraine and the EU,” she said at a briefing in Kyiv. According to the official, the lifting of the moratorium is excluded from the list of conditions for provision of macro-financial assistance by the European Union.
Speaking about the implementation of other provisions of the macro-financial assistance, in particular, the launch of automatic verification of electronic declarations of politicians and officials, the deputy premier said that coordination between various departments is underway to soon come to full ability to conduct automatic checks.
“The only problem that I see at the moment so that this system could work is changes in the legislation. The draft law from the government has been considered by the Verkhovna Rada for a very long time, maybe more than a year, the bill that regulates the automatic connection of the NACP (the National Agency on Corruption Prevention) to different registers,” she added.
Exports of Ukrainian agricultural products in January-August 2018 grew by $65.6 million year-over-year, reaching $11.5 billion or 37.3% of total exports of Ukraine. According to a press release of the Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry issued on Friday, in January-August 2018 foreign trade with agricultural goods reached $15 billion. “Ukrainian agricultural export grew by $65.6 million. The growth of indicators occurred mainly thanks to such items as rapeseed, wheat, meat and poultry byproducts, eggs, nuts, butter, chocolate and other goods,” the press service said, citing Deputy Agricultural Policy and Food Minister for European Integration Olha Trofimtseva.
According to her, in the top three exported Ukrainian agricultural products remain grain crops – 36.6% of total agricultural exports, vegetable oils – 25.1% and oilseeds – 9.4%. Key buyers in the regional export structure are Asian countries with a share of 43.6%, the European Union – 31.4% and Africa – 13.3%.
During this period, exports of agricultural products to Asian countries increased by $259.1 million compared to the eight months ending August 2017, to $5.04 billion.
“It is important to say that the first place among the key countries-importers of our products is India, to the markets of which Ukrainian food products were supplied in the amount of $1.3 billion. China took the second place with $698.8 million, Egypt – the third place with $ 685.5 million,” Trofimtseva said, adding that the Netherlands was among the five largest importers of Ukrainian products as compared with eight months of 2017 with $671.9 million and Spain with $551.3 million.
Exports of Ukrainian agricultural products to European countries in January-August 2018 exceeded $3.6 billion, Ukraine’s Agricultural Policy and Food Ministry has reported. “The top five key export items to the EU over the period include grain with a $1.2 billion volume, oil – $702.5 million, oilseeds – $581.4 million, – $312.8 million, poultry and byproducts – $169.8 million and other goods,” the ministry’s press service reported, citing Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food for European integration Olha Trofimtseva as saying.
She said that the top five countries with the largest share of trade in foreign goods flow between Ukraine and the EU includes the Netherlands with 15.2%, Poland with 14.3%, Italy with 12.6%, Spain with 12% and Germany with 11.5%.
Over the period imports of agrarian and food products from the EU to Ukraine rose by $336.2 million year-over-year, reaching $1.7 billion. “Most of all we imported products for feeding animals, tobacco and products made of it, chocolate and products made of cacao beans, meat and byproducts, oilseeds, corn, alcohol and other foods,” she said.
Original Ukrainian medicines are not available in the markets of the United States and the European Union (EU) over the absence of state support for research in Ukraine, Director General of Research and Industrial Center Borschahivka chemical and pharmaceutical plant (Kyiv) Yulia Zdarevska has said. “Original Ukrainians medicines are not usually introduced in the United States and the EU, not because of their low efficiency, but because of the lack of state support in Ukraine for the development of original drugs at the state or regional levels,” she told Interfax-Ukraine, commenting on the results of research on the market for drugs with insufficient evidence base, initiated by Anti Corruption Action Centre (AntAC) with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
Zdarevska said that the lack of registration in the United States or Europe is not proof of the inefficiency of medicines.
“Throughout the world, the registration of the drug in the FDA and EMA is a voluntary decision, not an obligation. Therefore, the substitution of concepts is clearly visible, therefore we believe that the group of drugs mistakenly described in the report as “Medicines Without Proven Effectiveness” should be referred to as” Medicines, the Use of which in the United States or the EU was not Envisaged by the Developer,” she said.
The general director of the plant said that the cost of a full cycle of developing and approving a new original drug in the United States could reach $2 billion.
“These costs today are unaffordable for the Ukrainian pharmaceutical industry,” she said.
Zdarevska said that the studies that pharmaceutical companies conduct to register their own drugs include safety and efficiency studies in accordance with established requirements.
“If these studies are not conducted, the drug cannot be registered. Thus, while demanding the prohibition of drugs not registered in the FDA and EMA, the authors of the research, in the first place, call into question the activities of state (and not only Ukrainian) regulatory authorities,” she said.
At the same time, Zdarevska said that the use of medicines in only one or several countries is a global practice, and the only necessary confirmation of the quality, effectiveness and safety of the drug is the availability of public registration.
She also recalled that in Ukraine for many years there is a pharmacovigilance system that allows the continuous collection, analysis and use of all information on side effects and the experience of clinical use of medicines.
Zdarevska said that Ukrainian pharmaceutical companies also export their medicines to more than 60 countries.
Research and Industrial Center Borschahivka chemical and pharmaceutical plant is among top 20 largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in Ukraine. It is a member of the Association Manufacturers of Medications of Ukraine (AMMU).