Monday

5th Dec 2022

EU gives Ukraine fresh blueprint for reforms

  • The EU wants to spur concrete reforms in Ukraine's economy and justice system (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission has given the Ukrainian government a to-do list of 18 reforms which could trigger extra EU aid, according to a document seen by EUobserver.

"I presented to the Ukrainian side a list of key reforms which Ukraine needs urgently to develop together with possible incentives and responses from the EU," enlargement and neighbourhood policy commissioner Stefan Fuele told MEPs on Wednesday (28 April) following his visit to Kiev last week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The document is a six-paged table outlining concrete measures and possible EU aid in response to them, covering political reforms, macro-financial stability, the business environment, the energy sector, the environment and civil aviation.

The reasoning behind the to-do list is to ensure that Moscow-friendly President Viktor Yanukovich, who recently struck a controversial gas deal with Russia in return for letting it keeps a naval base in Crimea for 25 years, is not only talking about getting closer to the EU, but actually implementing a pro-EU integration reform programme.

Ukraine is hoping to conclude an "Association Agreement" with the EU this year, which includes a free trade agreement and may lead to visa-free travel. It does not include a promise on EU enlargement but does not exclude the possibility either.

The to-do list would not "replace" the Association Agreement, Mr Fuele said, but would help Kiev to conclude the pact.

The list also counters complaints from Ukraine that the EU "does not know what to do with Ukraine," in the words of EU affairs minister Konstantin Yeliseyev in a telephone interview with this website earlier on Wednesday.

Mr Yeliseyev suggested that the "extremely pragmatic" new leadership in Kiev may develop closer economic relations with Russia if the EU does not put forward "real deliverables."

Some "deliverables" are included in the table, for instance a €610 million financial aid package "and scaling up of untargeted aid" if the country manages to get the stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund back on track. Ukraine contracted a €12.5 billion loan from the IMF in 2008, but payments were suspended last year because Ukrainian politicians failed to agree on a 2010 budget in line with IMF requirements on transparency.

Judicial reforms - ensuring the independence and efficiency of courts - could be rewarded with up to €10 million, while the modernisation of the gas transit system could see "significant investments" if the gas market and companies operating it become more transparent. The financial need estimated for this sector is €2.5 billion.

Last year, the Ukrainian government led by Yulia Tymoshenko signed up for a whole package of reforms in the energy sector, paving the way for western investments in the gas transit system. But little has happened since, with political bickering preventing a key law from being passed by the parliament. One of the "short term" measures required by the EU is precisely for this law to be re-submitted "without amendments" and adopted by the legislature.

Mr Fuele described the new list as a "political steering" instrument for the new Ukrainian government, which is set to present its ruling programme in June.

The EU list, according to Mr Fuele, has the backing of both the government and the embittered opposition party of former premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

Scenes broadcast on Tuesday showing Ukrainian MPs throwing eggs and smoke bombs at each other, suggest a different political climate than the one that Brussels is hoping for.

Mr Fuele said that the new government's declared commitment to EU reforms is reassuring but his optimism is dependent on "deeds" not "words.

EU commission counters Ukraine complaints

Ukraine does not have to choose between Brussels and Moscow and the EU is committed to helping it financially, the European Commission said on Friday (30 April) after Kiev voiced strong criticism of EU policy.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

Opinion

Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia

Vladimir Putin himself is somewhat suspicious of Serbia's leader, as are most who deal with the opaque Aleksandar Vucic. The Russian president has preferred to keep his Serbian counterpart compliant, via a tight rein of annually-reviewed gas pricing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU: 'We'll see' if Moscow actually stops selling oil over price-cap
  2. Bad Karma
  3. Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia
  4. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  5. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  6. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  7. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  8. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us