Unleashing Ukraine’s economic potential
Since the Maidan protests of 2013-14, Ukraine has achieved impressive reforms despite a challenging security situation in the east. The macroeconomic situation has stabilised and the economy is slowly recovering, with GDP growth returning last year. The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, applied provisionally since January 2016, is creating new opportunities: trade with EU member states rose by 7.5% in the year to October 2016. A conference held at CEPS on February 6th, convened jointly with Denmark’s foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, considered these successes as well as the numerous major challenges Ukraine faces in establishing a well-functioning state. Sustainable recovery depends crucially on ambitious reforms in areas such as the judiciary, energy and public administration, and continued and transparent privatisation. Efforts to promote and protect investments are also needed. Despite newly formed anti-corruption institutions and new legislation, more needs to be done to fight pervasive corruption. Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, told the conference that Ukraine had reformed more in the last two and a half years than in the preceding two decades, but then stressed the importance of fighting corruption, protection of property rights and transparent privatisation. Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, said it was a “myth” that reforms had been adopted but not implemented, and that a large number of prosecutions for corruption were underway.