We met in London on July 6 2017 for the first Ukraine Reform Conference to affirm the international partnership with and support for a free and reformed Ukraine. In London, the Ukrainian government launched and committed itself to implement its ambitious Reform Action Plan 2017-2020 and today the Ukrainian government has displayed substantial progress within its reform priority areas. This notable effort demonstrates the current Government’s commitment to reform. Still, we recognize that more reform work needs to be done for Ukraine to truly achieve its full potential and become a modern and prosperous nation. There is a continued need for a strong political leadership in Ukraine to push the reform agenda forward, ensure proper implementation and make reforms irreversible. In that respect, the people’s choice at the 2019 Ukrainian elections will be decisive. We support efforts towards electoral reform and underline the importance attached to ensuring the integrity of electoral processes and institutions. Building resilience towards external interference in election processes is of equally great importance and should be supported by the international community.
We, Ukraine, the UK, Denmark and Canada, remain committed to supporting the reform work of the Ukrainian government. We stress that a well-functioning, prosperous and resilient Ukraine remains of key strategic importance to Europe and the wider international community and is Ukraine’s best answer to Russian aggression. We recognize that a reformed Ukraine is a long-term project, and Ukraine has come a very long and productive way since 2014. All the more so as the reform results have been achieved despite Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, ongoing military aggression in Donbas and other means of destabilisation, including through continuing disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks. We will continue to work with international partners to constrain the Russian government’s ability to use disinformation in Ukraine and elsewhere, to spread malware while posing as cyber criminals, to sow discord in our societies and to engender public distrust in our democratic institutions. This includes providing support to independent media, media professionalism and media literacy and calling out Russian cyber attacks. We are concerned about vested political and economic interests that seek to undermine reform progress achieved and we urge the Government to maintain reform momentum and counter these attempts.
Today, the Prime Minister of Ukraine presented an overview of achievements and priorities for further reforms on the backdrop of economic recovery and increasing growth. Since the London conference, key reforms within the Government’s 2017-2020 Reform Action Plan, including in areas such as the health sector, pensions and education, have been launched and are now being implemented. To improve the business climate and facilitate privatization, new important legislation has been adopted. And other reforms, including decentralisation, judiciary, energy and public administration, are continuing. These achievements together with outstanding issues, including in areas where reform implementation needs to regain momentum, were discussed in Copenhagen today.
The recent landmark achievement with the adoption of the law establishing the High Anti-Corruption Court was a major step in creating an institutional anti-corruption architecture to enable successful prosecutions of corrupt officials. Once further necessary legislative challenges have been overcome, the Court will create a new momentum in tackling corruption that remains key to a successful reform process and an inflow of foreign investments. It must be complemented by ensuring the independence and integrity of the anti-corruption institutions, establishing automated verification of e-declarations for government officials, cancelling e-declarations for civil society activists, and applying a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. At the same time, it will be crucial to make progress in wider judicial reform. In Copenhagen, the international community highly praised the Parliament of Ukraine for taking this decisive step. Ukraine states its commitment to establish the Court as soon as possible. It will ensure the independence of the anti-corruption institutions and take other measures essential for building public trust in the Government’s fight against corruption.
In the period ahead, the Government of Ukraine will focus on achieving sustainable economic growth. As the Prime Minister stated today, priority in 2018-2019 will be given to privatization of state owned enterprises and improved corporate governance, improving the business climate, land market reform, decentralization, anti-corruption, energy sector reform, infrastructure development, public administration reform and innovation and digital development. Reforms within these areas will facilitate growth for the economy at all levels of government and provide tangible benefits in the everyday life of the ordinary Ukrainian citizen, including marginalized communities. The success of the IMF Extended Arrangement is essential to preserve achieved macroeconomic stability in Ukraine and ensure continuity of the reform progress for the upcoming years.
We believe the annual Ukraine Reform Conferences have become a “driver for change” and an important part of a continuing long-term partnership on reforms between Ukraine and the international community. We welcome the Government of Canada’s offer to host the 2019 Ukraine Reform Conference. We look forward to reviewing new reform progress and further strengthening the partnership between Ukraine and the international community when we meet in Canada.