On 17 December, H.E. Mr. Olexander Horin, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Netherlands, presented the Ukrainian ‘Government Action Plan to Overcome Current Challenges’ at The Hague Institute for Global Justice. The Ambassador emphasized that his country was already implementing a large number of economic and institutional reforms, which aim at improving the country’s shape in the near future. The plan is closely linked to the Association Treaty signed by the Ukrainian government with the EU, which established a political and economic relationship between the two actors.
Starting the program now was vital for the future of Ukraine due to the costs of the current conflict, estimated around between US$6-7 million per day, and the political and economic circumstances within the country. The Ambassador stated, regardless of the war in Eastern Ukraine, the government in Kiev would pursue this plan nonetheless.
During the presentation of the plan Ambassador Horin outlined the key challenges for Ukraine which include the threat facing Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity; the economic losses incurred from Russian aggression; and corruption.
The Action Plan includes new policies that will be implemented in various areas, including security, economy, anti-corruption, rule of law, governance, food and agriculture and energy. The new security policy laid out in the Action Plan underlines the importance of cooperation with Europe for the construction of safe and secure borders and to increase civilian security.
President Dr. Abiodun Williams, of the hosting The Hague Institute, recognized that the discussion required urgent attention and that the “ambitious and timely” Action Plan was of critical importance for stability in Ukraine.
Despite the costs incurred by the conflict, the economy of Ukraine shows positive trends, said Ambassador Horin. Ukraine’s international ranking for the conduct of business improved by 16 points, placing the country at number 96 globally. Current trade trends were also proof of Ukraine’s increased participation with Europe. As of now trade with Europe has increased by 15-16%, whilst trade with Russia had decreased by 27.3%, he said.
To bring home the point that his country is taking economic development very seriously, the Ambassador specifically addressed Ukraine’s efforts to tackle corruption, one of the country’s main challenges, according to him. Ambassador Horin referred to the recent visit by President Poroshenko to Singapore, to learn about its anticorruption policies. As a result Singaporean agencies are to be involved in training activities within Ukrainian bodies. Moreover, Ukraine’s new anti-corruption policy would include, among other measures, monitoring of state officials, the establishment of a National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and a National Anti-corruption Bureau.
With regards to the new energy policy, Ambassador Horin stated that Ukraine would undertake initiatives to diversify the sources and routes of energy supplies, collaborating with the EU and European companies. Ukraine is currently receiving more gas from Europe than Russia and the country expects to achieve energy independence within five years.
In answering a question from a representative of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee regarding the fact that Ukraine has yet to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, Ambassador Horin explained that the reason for this was due to internal issues with the constitution of Ukraine. This is an area under the purview of the Ukrainian Parliament. When they deliver the new constitution of Ukraine, expected next year, Ambassador Horin stated that optimistically, he would expect Ukraine to have ratified the Rome Statute by the end of 2016. Read more