News - 2015.03.03 - Ukraine Tomorrow

Photo: Federation of Employers of Ukraine (c) 2015

The Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine presented at the ‘Ukraine Tomorrow’ International Forum

3 March 2015

On 3 March 2015, the Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine was presented at the ‘Ukraine Tomorrow’ International Forum in Vienna. Its objective will be to develop a comprehensive plan of political and economic reforms in Ukraine aimed at achieving a long-lasting peace and bringing investment into the country to help rebuild its economy.

The establishment of the Agency came as the result of nine months of preparations which included two high-level roundtables in Vienna focused on solving the current political and economic crisis in Ukraine. A number of proposals developed in course of those roundtables, such as constitutional reform and decentralisation, economic and trade policies, have later been reflected in the recent Minsk agreements.

The process which led to the establishment of the Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine was inspired by a number of prominent Ukrainian, German, British and French politicians, businesspeople and civil society actors. Those included President of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Dmitry Firtash, French philosopher, author and civil society actor Bernard-Henri Levy, Chairman of the British Ukrainian Society Lord Risby, Chairman of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group in the Bundestag Karl-Georg Wellmann, and Chairman of the German-Ukrainian Forum Rainer Lindner.

The work of the Agency will be structured in a number of directions focused on particular policy areas and led by experienced European politicians or business leaders. For example, the European integration direction will be led by Guenter Verheugen who was the European Commissioner for Enlargement in 1999-2004, while the finance and tax direction will be led by Peer Steinbrueck who was German Federal Minister for Finance in 2005-2009. The economic direction will be led by Laurence Parisot who was the President of MEDEF, the French Business Confederation, in 2005-2013.

The trade direction will be led by Lord Mandelson who was the European Commissioner for Trade in 2004-2008 and served in a number of Cabinet positions under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The law enforcement direction will be led by Lord Macdonald who was Director of Public Prosecutions of England and Wales in 2003-2008. The health direction will be led by Bernard Kouchner who is the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières and was the French Minister for Foreign and European Affairs in 2007-2010.

The anti-corruption direction will be led by Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz who was Prime Minister of Poland in 1996-1997, as well as the country’s Foreign Minister in 2001-2005. The constitutional and legal reform direction will be led by Rupert Scholz, a law professor and German Federal Minister for Defence in 1988-1989.

As announced by Dmitry Firtash in course of the ‘Ukraine Tomorrow’ International Forum, the plan for modernisation of Ukraine to be developed by the Agency is expected to be presented in 200 days. According to preliminary estimates, thorough implementation of this plan will require around USD 300 billion of investments in the country. Mr Firtash also announced that talks with potential investors will be held in parallel with the plan preparation, and a dedicated Ukraine development fund is to be established along with the Agency.

The ‘Ukraine Tomorrow’ International Forum was also attended by other prominent politicians who joined in the process of helping Ukraine out of its current political and economic crisis. The speakers of the Forum included Frederik de Klerk who was the President of South Africa in 1989-1994, and Leonid Kravchuk who was the first President of Ukraine in 1991-1994. The British Ukrainian Society was represented by Lord Risby who chaired the Forum, and John Whittingdale MP who is Chairman of the British-Ukraine All-Party Parliamentary Group.