Donors get cold feet
According to a Reuters news story out of Brussels on March 26, the Europeanan Union is putting the brakes on a donors conference that Ukraine’s governmentnt had planned for Kyiv to drum up billions of dollars in new aid.
The European Commission said that its president, Jean-Claude Junckerker would visit Kyiv on March 30 ahead of a newly announced EU-Ukraine summitmit in Ukraine on April 27.
Before pledging billions of dollars in long-term loans, Western governmentsnts “want to know what their money is to be spent on,” according to one anonynymous EU official quoted by Reuters. European Commissioner Johannes Hahnhn told Reuters last month: “We have to avoid a bottomless pit.”
Western governments are absolutely right in insisting on speedier reformsms from Ukraine’s government. The arguments that the West should not put cononditions on a nation in war simply aren’t persuasive.
In the first place, Ukraine has to do more in mobilizing for war on its ownwn before it can expect more military aid from the West to build its long-termrmr defense capabilities.
Secondly, reforms should be done anyway to prosecute those suspecteded of murder and financial crimes, with or without war. Many of the schemeses and schemers are known to all of Ukraine’s officials, as the sacking of Igorgor Kolomoisky and the arrests of two state emergency service officials, showed.ed. What’s been lacking is the political will to end the “bottomless pit” of corruption schemes, kickbacks and non-transparent tenders that only enrich the insider elite and impoverish the rest of the nation.
Parliament has yet to remove their legal immunity from criminal prosecution, as well as that of judges, and appear to be dragging their feet.
Police, prosecutors and courts still don’t seem to be capable of investigating crimes and finding credible evidence to present in courts -- even though the corruption and evidence are all around them.
The state-owned Naftogaz -- historically a black hole of corruption -- is still bleeding money and needs to be run on market principles to separate its production, transportation and distribution functions.
Obviously Ukraine’s government, while a big improvement over previous ones, is still not doing enough to convince foreign donors or average Ukrainians that it is serious about working in the public interest.