Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Oleksandr Saenko expects that the next tranche from the European Union (EU) in the amount of EUR 10-20 million for governance reform could arrive in April or May 2019. “We had a very good political dialog with our European partners. They already have an official position regarding readiness to continue supporting this reform. We expect the next tranche in April-May,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
According to Saenko, the amount of the tranche will depend on the criteria, but according to forecasts, next year Ukraine will receive about EUR 10-20 million for this reform.
“Next year, much will change in the remuneration of civil servants. The remuneration of new reform specialists is a prototype of the remuneration model of civil servants, where the fixed part is at least 70%. This model is laid down in the law on public service. For specialists on reform issues, these parameters have already been established. We have limited the bonuses to 30%. This makes it impossible to establish sky-high bonuses,” the minister added.
Saenko said that now there is still a big imbalance in the system itself, when the position salary is minimal, and total wages and salaries increase significantly due to allowances and bonuses. This, according to the minister, creates dependence on the political biased will of the chief with all the attendant consequences.
“The new system will be more transparent and balanced, and we will gradually transfer the financing of the reform at the expense of the main programs of the ministries’ central offices,” Saenko said.
The European Union (EU) continues the U-LEAD with Europe: Ukraine local empowerment, accountability and development programme and would provide EUR 50 million for the implementation of the second phase of the programme. The press service of Deputy Prime Minister, Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities Economy Minister Hennadiy Zubko has reported that this was discussed at a meeting of the deputy prime minister with Head of the Support Group for Ukraine in the European Commission Peter Wagner and Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Ukraine Stefan Schleuning.
“We continue successful cooperation with the U-LEAD project. The road map of cooperation will remain the same, since Ukraine’s agreement with the EU on cooperation under this project complies with the European Charter of Local Self-Government. By the end of January 2019, together with our international partners, we will prepare action plan 2020 and on its basis we will propose the structure of the Central Reform Office. We have many new tasks, in particular, work on electoral legislation and cartographic works for modeling the processes in the regions,” Zubko said.
According to him, now the country, in particular, the central and local authorities, the parliament, and local authorities, faces a number of tasks, the implementation of which will lead to the successful implementation of the decentralization reform. This is the creation of a new territorial base and the holding of elections in 2020 on the new administrative and territorial map of Ukraine.
The deputy prime minister said that synchronously, local governments, regional administrations and more than 10 ministries should advance in the creation of the sub-regional level and their own territorial structures.
“In 2020, the issue of the new electoral legislation on local elections will appear. And we will propose changes to the legislation. We will insist on involving the public in the electoral process. Time is short – two years. This is very little for these tectonic changes. However, we have strong support from international partners,” Zubko said.
Ukraine as of November 26, 2018 fully used 10 quotas for duty free exports of food under a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement with the European Union (EU), particular, quotas for honey, cereals, malt and wheat gluten, preserved tomatoes, grape and apple juices, wheat and corn, butter and poultry.
According to a posting on the website of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UCAB), Ukraine also almost fully used quotas for starch (95%) and garlic (96%).
The UCAB reminded that from October 1, 2018 the second year of additional quotas for five groups of goods began, and two groups have been already closed (honey and preserved tomatoes).
“Before the end of the year, additional quotas for grain will be in effect, of which the volume for wheat and corn has already been used, and only 23% is used for barley,” the UCAB said.
As reported, in January-October 2018, exports of agricultural products from Ukraine amounted to $14.8 billion, which is $165 million more than a year earlier.
In addition to quotas for Ukraine, quotas on duty free import of goods from EU countries to Ukraine are still in effect. These include quotas for the following groups of goods – sugar, poultry meat (primary and secondary quotas) and pork (primary and secondary quotas).
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.