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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

International Conference on Support for Ukraine

Kiev, 28 April 2015

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

 

We are here today to tell the world that Ukraine can change; that Ukraine is changing; and that it is building for a brighter future with the help and support of its committed friends in the international community

The government is doing remarkable work in the most difficult of circumstances. They deserve our congratulations on the long, and growing list of new laws already passed.

AND we must give them all the help and support we can for the difficult next steps, of implementing those laws, tackling vested interests and really changing the political, administrative and commercial culture of this country.

Some of the changes will require courage and leadership. Higher energy prices for consumers, greater competition your businesses:   sometimes there will be short term pain for long term gain.

The Ukrainian public – and some of Ukraine's other neighbours – need to know that we are all here to help this country become stronger, more modern and more self-sufficient. A country that makes its own choices and delivers security and prosperity for its citizens

BUT the only way to unlock this country's potential is reform

Reform to create confidence in the rule of law; reform to create a business climate in which enterprise can flourish; reform to put in place a public administration that really works

There have been some first steps to reforming the justice sector: But we need to see much more – starting with the entry into force of the new law on the public prosecutor's office and implementation of legislation to bring in a new generation of judges to give this country the justice it deserves – and the setting up of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption as soon as  possible.

Aivaras is doing a great job : he's been telling me about the work he is doing to make a bonfire of regulation that holds back business in this country

I'm a former businessman. Sadly, for now, the conflict is a deterrent to investors. But we have to sweep away the other disincentives to do business in and with Ukraine.  

I am confident that President and Primeminister's will confirm and implement reform plans

It is why we applaud the setting up of a National Reform Council to monitor reforms

AND it is why, as President Juncker has said, the EU is deploying an unprecented range of support to Ukraine.

€11 billion promised last year, € 6 billion mobilised already.

But it's not just about the money.

The EU and its Member States offer you their expertise to make the necessary reforms. Under my authority alone, we have 30 experts that are there to help you draw up reform strategies and draft new legislation for example in key areas like energy and agriculture

The Support Group is being refocused: expect to see much more of them in Kiev!

The Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area that will enter into force next January are a fitness programme to transform your economy and society.

The DCFTA brings both challenges and opportunities: we have just taken two decisions worth € 110 million that will support SMEs and entrepreneurship in regions across the country. We will be helping businesses get access to financing, and to adapt to the new opportunities to trade with Europe. And we will be paying particular attention to those regions affected by the conflict.

We want to do much more: we want to help transform your public administration to bring in a new culture of transparency where corruption cannot flourish: this means e-governance, e-public procurement, seconding auditors to help you step up scrutiny.

We want to tackle the things that are holding you back: take energy consumption! If you could bring your energy efficiency in line with the EU average, you would no longer have to import gas. Just think what that would mean for your economy and for your security.

Ukraine must seize this moment, which despite your many problems, is full of opportunity. But our message today, is that you do not have to face these challenges alone.

SPEECH/15/4884

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