Ukraine needs a strong signal from the European Union about equal partnership. This was stated during the conference "5 YEARS AFTER MAJDAN: UKRAINE'S REFORM AGENDA" in Brussels by Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.
"We need a strong message from Europe that Ukraine is an equal partner, that our future is with the European family", said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.
The Vice Prime Minister noted that the EU is the largest donor of foreign assistance for Ukraine. For its part, during the last five years, Kyiv has managed to launch a series of structural reforms that cover almost all spheres of public life - from healthcare, education and the pension system to the judiciary and law enforcement agencies.
"It is extremely important that the Fifth Association Council acknowledged the progress achieved in the process of implementation of the Association Agreement, despite the challenges faced by Ukraine, and welcomed Kyiv's commitment to continue translating other goals into reality the next year", the Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister stressed.
She thanked the EU for its strong support in the course of the implementation of the Association Agreement, taking into account the financial assistance related to the concrete progress of reforms.
According to her, reforms in Ukraine are not just new laws, rules, and procedures. Apart from that, the changes concern the overcoming of Soviet and imperial habits and the confrontation between the kleptocracy of authorities and the patriarchal sentiments of the Ukrainian society.
"There exists no precedent for such radical changes in such a large post-Soviet country as Ukraine for such a short time. We have studied the experience and evaluated the advice of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe that have undergone similar transformations. However, it should be borne in mind that any comparisons are limited. The size and history of Ukraine make it a unique state, which should be evaluated on its own merits", noted the Vice Prime Minister.
"We call the transformations in Ukraine the reforms, but in reality, we are talking about the building of a new state. We undergo the process of establishment of new institutions and procedures. Sometimes we do it from scratch, learning by our mistakes and studying the experiences of other countries. In some areas, we have gone further than our "mentors" (as in the case of the ProZorro electronic procurement system), and we would be happy to share the lessons learned and our best practices. But now we understand that back in 2014, after the Revolution of Dignity, we have formed too optimistic expectations. In an extremely short period of time, we had to make changes that had lasted for decades in the western countries, or they had led to social unrest", stressed Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. She emphasized that over the past five years the Ukrainian Government had managed to smoothly launch a series of structural reforms covering almost every sphere of public life - from healthcare, education, pension reforms to the judiciary and law enforcement sectors. "We are building roads, opening new schools and hospitals", the Vice Prime Minister stressed and added that the Government consolidates the democracy and is working to bring about future transformations.
She noted that Ukraine has made significant progress in decentralization, anti-corruption policy, reform of the energy sector, banking sector, public administration, public procurement. However, according to the Vice Prime Minister, the pace of reforms is not as fast as the Ukrainian society demands. But sustainable, well-thought-out progress is a better way than harebrained and destabilizing actions that can be easily changed depending on the political situation.
Moreover, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze noted that we mustn’t forget that Ukraine's reforming takes place against the backdrop of daily human and financial losses as a result of Russian aggression in the East of Ukraine, the need for security and defense expenditures in the amount of 5% of GDP and increased pressure from Russia on the eve of the 2019 elections.
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze stressed on the importance of the Eastern Neighborhood for European stability and security. "Eastern neighbors should be an integral part of the debate about the future of Europe. The EU is the heart of Europe, its transformations are getting stronger and continually changing the continent. That is why we have to talk about the vision of a European future but not just about the EU." The Vice Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine should become a full participant in these discussions, and the fact that European leaders often avoid talking about Russia's threats can cause enormous problems for the entire European community in the future. "We need a joint powerful counteraction to the policy of the country that disobeys the international law and the values of the democratic world", added Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.