Saturday

21st Apr 2018

Interview

Ukraine eyes €500m EU aid, while fighting corruption

  • Danyliuk: 'Whenever you try to change something you get a pushback' (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Kiev is hoping to secure more than €500m in EU aid by July, amid its never-ending fight against corruption.

"Hopefully, it will be in June. I really hope so," Oleksandr Danyliuk, the Ukrainian finance minister, told EUobserver in an interview.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The tranche would be part of a €1bn EU programme designed to give the Ukrainian state more liquidity.

It is not a done deal, and will require MEPs approval, amid EU concerns that the Ukrainian state is not a safe pair of hands.

The EU withheld the last tranche of its 2017 Ukraine programme because of delays on a new IT system to check civil servants' asset declarations. That system is still not in place. "It's in the process", Danyliuk said.

The country has made progress in fighting graft, he noted.

Privatisation = 'skin in the game'

The privatisation process of the 3,500 or so companies still owned by the state has been made more transparent to attract international investors, he said.

"Whoever wants to come to Ukraine, the opportunity is there," Danyliuk said.

"If we bring in foreign investors, it also helps us politically. If we have a lot of Belgian, or French, or Dutch, or US companies, then those countries have some skin in the game", he added.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine had depreciated assets, but the minister said privatisation should go ahead anyway.

"We might have to live with this war for a long time and Ukraine is a huge country. We need to live even if the war will stay," he said.

Danyliuk said Ukraine had also boosted tax income by 27 percent over the past year by measures designed to curb its shadow economy, which is estimated to account for over 30 percent of GDP.

But with the EU preparing to pour another €1bn into the Ukrainian treasury, Danyliuk said much remained to be done to fight corruption.

Ukrainian tycoons, such as Igor Kolomoisky, Viktor Pinchuk, Rinat Akhmetov, and Dmitry Firtash still had undue media and political party influence, the finance minister indicated.

But Danyliuk focused his attention on corrupt civil servants in the tax, state security, and general prosecutors services instead, who, he said, were doing more to hold back the country than the oligarch class.

"This is huge. It's not small level. We're talking about billions", he said, referring, for instance, to the cost to Ukrainian businesses that had to pay kickbacks to get VAT returns or to quash bogus criminal investigations.

The civil service needed a purge of staff, the minister said.

"Some people, who are corrupt, you need to replace them, because they won't be able to work under the new rules," he said.

Prosecutor general should go

He also repeated his previous call for Ukraine's prosecutor general, Igor Lutsenko, to step down.

He said it was not normal that Lutsenko had held secret meetings with the subjects of a criminal investigation at a flower market in The Netherlands.

He also said Lutsenko had failed to stop prosecutors from extorting money from the business sector.

Lutsenko is a close friend of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

When asked by EUobserver if Danyliuk risked his own position by going after the chief prosecutor in public, Danyliuk said: "If you don't take a risk, you don't achieve anything".

"I've had some investigations opened against me," he added.

"Whenever you try to change something you get a pushback, sometimes a very nasty pushback", he said.

US probe into Ukraine 'lobbying' by former EU officials

A former EU commission president, ex-European parliament president and an ex-Austrian chancellor all deny being paid €2m by Donald Trump's former campaign chief to lobby on the behalf of the Russian-backed government in Ukraine in 2012.

EU toes the line on Syria air strikes

EU foreign ministers to back Western air strikes on Syria, the same way they backed the UK over Russia's chemical attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights