Kyiv, December 2, 2015. Ukraine today is a free country and that is a huge gain of the Ukrainian people, as it makes other gains possible. Next 2 years will be crucial for Ukraine, as no major elections will take place in this time. This is the best time for Ukraine to speed up its reform process, stated Radosław Sikorski, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Marshal of the Sejm of Poland at the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “From everyone I talk to starting with President Poroshenko and ordinary Ukrainians I meet, number one priority is fighting corruption. You need to restore the trust of your people in the system as well as Europe’s faith in your ability to create the kind of state system that can make you compatible with future membership,” he believes.
Mr. Sikorski insisted that the current Ukrainian government has at last done what previous governments only promised to fulfill. That is, the reform of energy sector that for the last 24 years was the source of tremendous corruption and “monumental waste of resources” having brought Ukraine where it found itself two years ago. The next Ukraine’s success, according to Mr. Sikorski, is a fair deal Ukrainian government managed to negotiate with the IMF. Now international finance community sees Ukraine as the country that plays by the rules. Another important issue he outlined is the process of decentralization. “I can only tell you what has worked for Poland. Local authorities have their own sources of taxation and also get a slice of corporation tax from companies operating in the area. Thus, there is lively self-government culture. The Polish cities are now thriving and reach,” followed up former Foreign Minister and added that his hometown has the same budget as the Polish MFA.
Looking back at Ukraine’s history, Mr. Sikorski argued that in the last quarter century Ukrainians made their views clear for at least three times. In 1991 when they proclaimed Ukraine’s independence, next time – during the Orange revolution, the most dramatic time, at Maidan protests two years ago. “With your first attempt you established the state, and the second one was meant to make it more European. You must not fail now. You must not disappoint on one hand your people and on other – Europe, which has invested its good will and a lot of assistance both political and financial in your success”.
Now when Ukraine has its Action Plan with the EU, Mr. Sikorski believes that the financial part of it – the Adjustment program by the IMF – can be called a huge achievement as Ukraine is now in compliance with IMF. The other part – the Association Agreement with the EU – is harder and bigger. “It gives you the tools to move Ukraine from legal civilization of ‘sovietism’ and ‘postsovietism’ to Europe. It can make you fulfill your aspiration to apply for the membership,” noted Mr. Sikorski. “In Poland we’ve been waiting for you for about 350 years. And we hope we won’t have to wait for another 350 years. I really hope you don’t miss this chance of joining our European family of free-market democracies with the rule of law,” added the Polish official. He also stated that with the regard of the recent change of the Polish government he expects it to be as encouraging to Ukraine as President Lech Kachiński was. Therefore, the two nations can also continue their hard work on reconciliation of their mutual history.