OECD'S Mari Kiviniemi: Ukraine should quicken pace of re­forms

Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly - - Contents - BY ILYA TIMTCHENKO TIMTCHENKO@KYIVPOST.COM

Mari June 7 Kiviniemi gen­eral Co­op­er­a­tion against lit­i­cally with Ukraini­ans Feb. In­sti­tut­ska The The 20, demo­cratic 15 Kiviniemi club cor­rup­tion 2014, lo­ca­tion at at and stands the the were is Street. and dur­ing eco­nom­i­cally Cabi­net close Or­ga­ni­za­tion met val­ues. for was De­vel­op­ment mur­dered and as protests with to of the the sym­bolic the Min­is­ters the build­ing deputy healthy by against site for Kyiv — snipers Eco­nomic where for sec­re­tary the Club Post of for­mer na­tion a what fight po- on on on 47 Pres­i­dent Moscow-friendly lions al­ready Euro­maidan our “We will­ing­ness, from started from Vik­tor the (Rev­o­lu­tion) coun­try. the co­op­er­a­tion Yanukovych’s regime, from 1990s, the events which but (with or­ga­ni­za­tion’s cor­rupt re­ally re­in­forced stole Ukraine) and bil- the side, coun­try,” prime Since to min­is­ter the sup­port said rev­o­lu­tion, Kiviniemi, of Fin­land the de­vel­op­ment the who from OECD served 2010–2011. has of as pro- this the duced eas or­ga­ni­za­tion for a Ukraine range is of to con­cen­trat­ing re­ports re­form. re­view­ing Right on now, mak­ing key the ar­sure cient Ukraine de­cen­tral­iza­tion has a more process, ef­fec­tive and that and gov- effiern­ment as in­sti­tu­tions bod­ies tend have to clear shift re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties back “Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and forth. should be clear re­ally, sibil­ity so that is, ev­ery­one and that knows is not where the case the re­spon- so far,” Kiviniemi said. Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment still needs to im­prove its ef­fec­tive­ness, ac­count­abil­ity and in­tegrity at all in­sti­tu­tional lev­els from na­tional to lo­cal. And though the gov­ern­ment has been boast­ing that with its de­cen­tral­iza­tion re­form, ini­ti­ated in 2014, lo­cal and re­gional gov­ern­ments now have con­trol over most of their bud­gets, in re­al­ity this is not the case. “More must be done to build lo­cal bud­gets, be­cause now sub­na­tional au­thor­i­ties

con­trol only about 30 per­cent of their rev­enues, while al­most 80 per­cent of their ex­pen­di­tures are made on their be­half by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment,” Kiviniemi said. And to achieve this, Ukraine needs the fi­nan­cial re­sources to keep its gov­ern­ment body ef­fec­tive — money that it does not have. The lack of hu­man re­sources is an­other prob­lem, “an enor­mous chal­lenge at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment here.” those will fi­nan­cially Gov­ern­ment ei­ther who find do re­ward­ing have the salaries the pri­vate or nec­es­sary are sim­ply sec­tor low, move skills more and abroad. Kiviniemi would give a firm an­swer on whether she sees Ukraine’s re­forms im­prov­ing. “It has been chal­leng­ing, and in cer­tain ar­eas it has been eas­ier, and in cer­tain not so easy,” she said. “But we also want to be an or­ga­ni­za­tion that gives a bit of a push, as well as sup­port.” Over­all, she sees the coun­try mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion “but it’s very dif­fi­cult to say if we’re now able to speed up, or if we’re going into a slower phase.” Part of her visit was to re­con­firm OECD’S com­mit­ment to Ukraine, with both par­ties re­sign­ing a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing first signed in 2014. Kiviniemi sees this as a good sig­nal com­ing from Ukraine. An­other part of her visit was to launch OECD’S 295-page re­port on Ukraine’s de­cen­tral­iza­tion process, which takes a de­tailed look at progress in Ukraine’s re­gional de­vel­op­ment, ter­ri­to­rial re­form and de­cen­tral­iza­tion since 2014. The re­port can be found at www.oecd.org. The OECD has also sup­ported the cre­ation of anti-cor­rup­tion in­sti­tu­tions in Ukraine, in­clud­ing the Busi­ness Om­buds­man Coun­cil, the Na­tional An­ti­Cor­rup­tion Bureau, and re­forms in the civil ser­vice, pub­lic pro­cure­ment, and the man­age­ment of pub­lic fi­nances. “But re­ally, our mes­sage is that more needs to be done — there re­ally is room for ac­cel­er­at­ing the re­form process,” Kiviniemi said. This in­cludes in­creas­ing the pace of re­form of state-owned en­ter­prises, she said. Ukraine’s pri­va­ti­za­tion of more than 3,000 state-owned en­ter­prises — many of which are in­ef­fi­cient cash cows for cor­rup­tion — has been de­layed for over three years. And in ad­di­tion to bat­tling with a bloated pub­lic sec­tor, Kiviniemi says that Ukraine should con­tinue re­form­ing its tax sys­tem. Kivinemi well as be­ing has an Fin­land’s im­pres­sive prime back­ground: min­is­ter, she as held var­i­ous min­is­te­rial po­si­tions. She was elected as a mem­ber of par­lia­ment for the first time when she was 26. In ad­di­tion to all of that, she is a mother of two chil­dren. Kiviniemi has also been a strong ad­vo­cate for equal em­ploy­ment rights be­tween men and women. “This is ac­tu­ally one of the ar­eas where

we ment,” that am­ple long 1906, women lic Kiviniemi “But of­fice. would area led Fin­land in she the it the that the like took said. right comes pub­lic could fight to was a “We sup­port to long the sec­tor.” from for be vote have im­ple­mented, first time gen­der and Ukraine’s a many coun­try coun­try be­fore stand tools equal­ity. de­velop- for that Fin­land to also for pub- give has ex- In in reached par­lia­ment,” care The To of im­prove fig­ure some the Kiviniemi 40 is mat­ters, ba­sic about per­cent steps. 12 Ukraine said. per­cent level For of needs in­stance, in women Ukraine. to take its in gov­ern­ment day­care How­ever, ser­vices the needs gen­eral for to chil­dren. en­sure at­ti­tude there in are Ukraine good to­wards to change, women’s she said. re­spon­si­bil­i­ties Of­ten, for ex­am­ple, also needs it is as­sumed can and that should women take are care the of only chil­dren. ones who But men should also be el­i­gi­ble for fam­ily leave, and not only women, Kiviniemi said. “But re­ally it’s… in the women’s hands, in the sense that we have to be ac­tive, and we have to stand for of­fice, and we should not think that this isn’t some­thing for us to do.” OECD re­ports have also shown that with more women in gov­ern­ment, peo­ple trust their gov­ern­ments more, she said. And there’s also a ten­dency for “health­care and so­cial se­cu­rity ser­vices to be bet­ter in those coun­tries,” Kiviniemi added.

Brain drain

Bet­ter for Ukraine Ukrainian both liv­ing stop women pro­fes­sion­als its and brain and em­ploy­ment men drain look­ing would — the for con­di­tions also flight a bet­ter help of life abroad. In ad­di­tion to good so­cial se­cu­rity and health­care, Ukraine also needs to im­prove its ed­u­ca­tion, in­vest­ment cli­mate and gov­er­nance, “so that peo­ple re­ally have the feel­ing that they can fully make use of all of the po­ten­tial that they have in their own coun­try.” “Fin­land was a very poor coun­try 50–60 years ago, af­ter World War II, but it has since be­come one of the most de­vel­oped coun­tries in the world,” Kiviniemi said. “It’s pos­si­ble for any coun­try to fol­low the same path — if you are com­mit­ted to re­form­ing the coun­try and re­ally putting the right poli­cies in place.”

Mari Kiviniemi, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral at the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment, spoke with the Kyiv Post at the Cabi­net of Min­is­ters Club on In­sti­tut­ska Street on June 15. (Oleg Pe­tra­siuk)

Ukraini­ans line up to re­ceive bio­met­ric pass­ports for visa-free travel to the Euro­pean Union at a pass­port of­fice in Kyiv on July 20, 2017. Thou­sands of Ukraini­ans have ap­plied for the bio­met­ric pass­port as they are hop­ing to leave Ukraine in search of a bet­ter life abroad. (Oleg Pe­tra­siuk)

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