On 08.09. the conference “Economic Stabilization and Combatting Corruption in Ukraine”, which had been organized by Kiev Dialogue in cooperation with the European Commission in Germany and the German Advisory Group Ukraine, took place in Berlin.
After a short welcoming speech by Stefanie Schiffer (Director of “European Exchange”, Board member of “Kiev Dialogue”), Bernhard Schnittger (Deputy Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Germany) opened the conference. In the course of two panels the following questions were discussed: How can the Ukrainian economy be stabilized further in order to attract foreign investors? How can the economic reforms be implemented faster and more effectively? Which role do corruption and oligarchs play for the economic development?
Participants of the first panel “Stabilization of the Ukrainian Economy” were Ricardo Giucci (Head of the German Advisory Group Ukraine and Director of Berlin Economics), Olena Tregub (Head of the Department for Coordination of Foreign Donors at the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy), Yuriy Butsa (Vice Minister of Finance in Ukraine) and Dmytro Sologub (Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine). Dr Ricardo Giucci explained the role of macroeconomic stabilization for the country and commented on its current state: further effort is necessary to translate the current stabilization into economic growth. Olena Tregub added other positive achievements, but pointed out that those do not yet guarantee political and social stability. Also, she mentioned problems connected to the conditioned access to funds provided by donors and stressed that the local administrations need urgent reform. Mr. Sologub confirmed that the situation has stabilized noticeably compared to 2014/15. He added that the population would feel the effects only if the stabilization trend remains sustainable. Mr. Butsa pointed out that the dynamics in the development of exports are not yet satisfying. This is related to the slump in exports to Russia and the blockade of transport routes to Central Asia. First positive effects of the Free Trade Agreement with the EU can be observed, but more time is needed until it will unleash its full potential.
In the second panel projects for combatting corruption and for the implementation of economic reforms have been presented. Participants were Peter Wagner (Support Group for Ukraine, European Commission), Krystyna Hutsalova (Coordinator of ProZorro, Project Manager for the reform of state purchases at the National Council for Reforms / Ukraine), Iaroslav Gregirchak (Deputy Business Ombudsman / Ukraine) and Kirsten Lohrscheid (Alliance for Integrity, GIZ GmbH). In the course of the panel the ProZorro Program and the functions of the ombudsman have been presented. Both are considered important steps in combatting corruption and first positive impacts have been observed. Mrs. Lohscheid pointed out, that corruption is a problem not only in Ukraine, but also in a range of other countries. Mr. Wagner stressed that there exists no universal remedy against corruption, but that only persistent effort leads to sustainable success.
All participants agreed that the situation has compared significantly in comparison to that two years ago. Still, the demand for more reforms is high and persistent effort is necessary to solve the problem of corruption. The audience was invited to ask questions and comment on the discussion after both panels.
Pictures: Stephan Röhl