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Opinion: Only Ukrainians, not foreigners, are capable of reforming Ukraine

Opinion: Only Ukrainians, not foreigners, are capable of reforming Ukraine
Article by: Bohdan Danylyshyn
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
As President Poroshenko signs a decree granting citizenship to three foreigners that will head government agencies, former government member Bohdan Danylyshyn argues that only Ukrainians have a sufficient understanding of Ukraine to reform it.

As a former member of the government in Ukraine who lived in Europe for four years and knows the political kitchen in European countries from experience, as well as the political balance of power in Ukraine, including the apparatus intrigues among the officials, I can claim that citizens of other countries, not Ukrainians, cannot work for the government of the Ukrainian state because they don’t know its specifics and the structure of the economy, and in order to start directly doing their jobs, they will need time. Foreigners can work as advisors, even collegium members, but only that. Besides, the post of minister is political. If the state refuses political government, then we may invite foreigners to the parliament, the judicial government, justice system and law enforcement, and so forth. As experience shows – most foreign specialists work in Ukraine as lobbyists for foreign companies or their own countries. In addition, Ukraine is de facto in a state of emergency in terms of war and the economy. There is no time for warm-ups.

Second, the Ukrainian nation is one of the most educated in Europe and has great citizens of Ukraine who have both Ukrainian and Western degrees and experience in their respective fields. Ukrainians citizens should work for the Ukrainian government.

In regard to Georgian representatives. I think it is too early to idealize the reforms that happened there. Ukraine is not Georgia, and it is not only incorrect to compare them, but also uneducated. Georgia cannot even be compared to any region of Ukraine. If the Ukrainian regions received as much monetary investments per square kilometer as Georgia had once, we would be the most developed country in Europe.

I am convinced that there are experts capable of entering the new government and conducting reforms in the nearest future in Ukraine.

The head of the government is the Prime Minister and only him, and nobody else is personally responsible for the work of the government. The Ukrainian Prime Minister is elected and only he has the right to determine the best candidates for work in appropriate fields.

If the coalition appoints foreigners for government posts, representatives of other companies, it means it takes political responsibility for their work with all the following consequences.

The main program of reform is “Not to be afraid (politically) and not steal (economically) – we can have no other program,” said Masarik in 1913. These words were a prophesy.

Ukrainian demands direct action to stabilize the economic situation in the country. One of the main tasks for the new government is ensuring territorial integrity, sovereignty and wholeness of Ukraine. This is the first priority under Russian military aggression.

A clear program of reforms has to be proposed and accepted by the public.

In order to execute the program of reforms, we have to answer three basic questions: who is able to do it? what has to be done? what instruments, how, and how much time and what resources will be used for reform?

When answering the first question, it is necessary to assert that swift and effective reforms can only be done by an efficient and responsible government which las legitimacy, full trust and support of the people.

In order for an effective government comprised of Ukrainian or foreign experts to work, the parliament has to conduct two out of three key reforms. They should have been conducted right after the Revolution of Dignity. Unfortunately, time has been wasted.

After the first two reforms, anyone can be invited to the government.

The first component of reform should be administrative reform, which would satisfy the public demand for efficient, responsible and open institutions of executive government and local governments, as such, effective state governance.

The aim of reform is the creation of an effective system of governemnt which would provide public services to citizens at European levels, ensure responsible use of the budget funds and react to socioeconomic and external challenges in a timely and adequate fashion. In order to reach the goal of reformations, an ideology of serving the public should be implemented as the principle of functioning of public administration. It is necessary to reexamine the structure of the executive government in regard to their accordance to the main state functions and increase the role and responsibility of ministries in developing and executing state policies. Such a reexamination of the structure and functions will allow to optimize the number of people in the government and increase the quality of its work with the according material and career stimulation.

Another component of reform, which should ensure the efficiency and responsibility of the government, is reforming the judicial system, which needs insurance of availability of justice, improving the court system, finishing the creation of a full-fledged system of administrative justice, creation of legislative guarantees of the right of the individual to fair trial, formation of professional judge corps, insurance of complete adherence to court decisions and control over the objectivity of these decisions.

The task of the government is to form the model of the national economy with a developed domestic market, highly-technological export and good environment for the attraction of domestic and foreign investments, will need a number of reform aimed to develop domestic priority industries. We should start from the point that the period when the purchasing power of the population grew thanks to currency loans and social transfers, has passed.

Today Ukraine once more confirms its European nature – the ability to be a Great Country. The Ukrainian nation once sent all signals of truth and democracy to the world (remember Pylyp Orlyk, for one). Ukraine has to approve not even the European choice, but the truth of life at home. According to Vaclav Havel, “democracy ties the hands of those who respect it and allows almost everything to those who don’t.”

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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