Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine launched a public consultation with key stakeholders to define priorities for assistance over the period 2018-2020.
The consultations started on November 10th with representatives of business community and will continue with Civil Society (14 November) as well as with the representatives of all political factions and Committees of Verkohvna Rada (16 November). A dedicated website - consult-eu.com.ua/ - was set up specifically to receive direct feedback from the Ukrainian society on how the EU could support Ukraine in building Stronger Economy, Stronger Governance and Stronger Society.
The EU has provided significant assistance to Ukraine in various sectors from early 1990s, with EU's support to Ukrainian reforms increasing dramatically in the aftermath of EuroMaidan. Since 2014 EU financial assistance has totalled over € 6.6 billion, including EU's macro-financial or humanitarian assistance.
Peter Wagner, Head of Support Group for Ukraine said that "the idea of this consultation is to hear the voice of Ukrainian society, learn more about the priority reforms in Ukraine and strategically adjust our multi-annual assistance so that it fully matches the needs and interest of civil society and business community".
Ukraine remains the priority partner for the EU and Union's annual non-refundable EU's assistance could be in the range of €120-200 million, depending on how successful the key reforms in Ukraine are implemented.
Berend de Groot, Head of Cooperation of EU Delegation stated that "the principle of "More for More" will apply to for the future planning of assistance. The more Ukraine will reform, the more EU will be able to support its progress".
The representatives of businesses have raised several issues and suggestions on how should the EU funds be used to bring about the changes Ukraine is seeking. "Ukraine is not unique," told one representative of business. "There are other post-socialist countries, such as Kazakhstan: we should ask ourselves why is Ukraine 80th, Kazakhstan 35th and Poland 24th World Bank Doing Business rating (2017) and what has to be done to improve Ukraine's standing."
Many suggested that privatising state owned companies would significantly reduce overall corruption and would help attract more foreign direct investments to Ukraine; others called for additional trainings for public officials who work on businesses environment related issues and promote entrepreneurship in Ukraine.
The EU already supports several actions in the field of private sector development under EU4Businessinitiative providing SMEs' access to finance and advice as well as supporting government efforts to unlock the potential of SMEs in Ukraine.
The online public consultation will be open for the input of citizens, civil society organisations and employees' and employers' associations until Monday 21st November noon. The opinions will be analysed and taken into consideration while preparing the EU's Multi-Year Support Programme 2018-2020 for Ukraine.