The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU is a roadmap for many of those reforms. Back in September, the Rada and the European Parliament simultaneously ratified the accord. Ukraine is now pleased to see EU members doing the same. Ukraine's commitment to implementing the Agreement is based not only on the legally-binding nature of the treaty but also on the moral commitment to saving the country, torn by domestic corruption and foreign aggression.
President Poroshenko is committed to making Ukraine an EU member. The majority in the new Rada is definitely pro-European, though strong opposition is also present there as a minority whose task is to make sure that all checks and balances are applied in country’s best interest. Moreover, the parliament includes an unprecedented number of civil activists and experts, who have got a chance to change the system from the inside. The pro-European sentiment is as strong as ever among Ukrainians. Perhaps, even stronger than in the EU itself.
I see no alternative for the new government but to continue with its pro-European course and implement painful but necessary reforms. Indeed, the crisis in eastern Ukraine will seriously complicate these efforts. Yet, the crisis cannot be used as an excuse to explaining any kind of failure or delay with reforms. At the end of the day, a strong democracy, the elimination of corruption and the establishment of a functioning market economy will be Ukraine's best arguments in the conflict-resolution process.
Ukraine is duly implementing the Minsk Protocol aimed at ending the conflict in the east. But my government will not finance terrorists who exercise temporary control over some of the districts in eastern Ukraine and blatantly undermine the peace process. Therefore, following November 2 illegal elections, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced that the government is to suspend subsidising territories in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed terrorists, a decision unlikely to be reversed. At the same time, we will still supply the districts with gas and electricity to ensure the proper functioning of infrastructure. These are clear indications of the government’s readiness to make dramatic decisions aimed at defending the national economy and financial system in this time of turbulence.
Ukraine is developing as a market economy integrated in the world trade system. Ukraine also deeply appreciates the support already provided by our friends and partners. But the problems are still there. Hence, focusing on effective cooperation with IMF, EU and other international partners as well as on expanding Ukraine’s export s to new markets will be essential to rebuilding our economy. We count on that support, just as the international community should count on our commitment to the road-map for reform and our determination to bring an end to the crisis in our land.
image credit Ben Sutherland