I congratulate you on the New Year!
Today we are celebrating the 2019 New Year and seeing out the old year! For our country, 2018 was a year of hard work and important achievements.
We managed to stabilize the economic and social situation and to reach the sustainable development of the industry. We provided financial resources to raise the minimum wage from January 1 which will amount to UAH 4173. For the first time, automatic recalculation of pensions depending on inflation and wage growth will be introduced. Housing and utilities subsidy program will be continued.
The key reforms aimed at drastically changing the country in the medium term are underway. Ukrainian children study at the "New Ukrainian School", which will become an innovative educational space in line with modern western models. Healthcare reform is being implemented – starting from January 1, we will introduce a money-follow-patient principle, and already from July 1, the state funding will cover basic medical tests. We kick off the reform of emergency medicine and nail down the success of Available Medicines program.
We wrapped up the first stage of decentralization, which triggered a significant increase in local budgets. In 2019, we will begin the next stage of the reform: a new administrative-territorial system will be created. For us, it is crucial to enshrine the local self-government reform in the Constitution of Ukraine, which guarantees the inviolability of these changes, regardless of who will come to power tomorrow.
One of the priorities for the Government was to strengthen a national defense capability. We are obliged to quickly and effectively reform the army amid Russia’s military aggression. Due to the performed work, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have entered the list of the world’s 30 best armies, but we will continue to put into practice NATO standards in the army. After all, our strategic goal is to achieve NATO membership, and year by year we are getting closer to it.
Ukraine has stepped up cooperation with the countries of the European Union within the framework of the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement. All changes being implemented are aimed at strengthening European values, European way and the standard of living. Adaptation of the legislative framework to the European Union legislation as well as sectoral European integration are underway.
Perhaps for the first time during the existence of the new Ukrainian state, we have abandoned the "residual principle" of financing science and culture. We have hope that from 2019 the National Research Fund and Innovation Support Fund will be fully functional. I believe that those economic objectives that we set in front, including the growth of the economy by at least 5 percent per annum, can only be achieved on condition of the high research intensity and innovation of the national economy.
Among the achievements are the establishment of the Book Institute, and the active introduction of a new museum policy. The state support of the domestic cinema production has led to the fact that this year 22 Ukrainian films have been presented, while 72 are still in production. We have triggered the regeneration of Ukrainian filmmaking, and to maintain this trend, we remain in place Government support for the cinema at the level of UAH 1 billion next year.
The revival of the single Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is one of the most significant events in our history. We restored historical justice: the Kyiv Metropolitanate, which existed since the baptism of Rus in 988 and was seized by Moscow after 1686, is being reborn. Under the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Kyiv Metropolitanate is no longer subordinate to the Patriarch of Moscow. We were fortunate to be contemporaries and eyewitnesses of this epoch-making event. Without exaggeration, a new era of not only Ukrainian but also world Orthodoxy begins.
As the Prime Minister of Ukraine, I assure you that we are moving in the right direction. Our future depends only on us, and only together we can form a just and successful European society.
I congratulate all Ukrainian citizens on the New Year! I wish everybody strong health, well-being, love, mutual understanding, self-confidence and in the opportunities of our country! Let the new year bring us all new achievements and only positive emotions!
Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr GROYSMAN