Week’s milestones. Russian spy in PM team, pacified Saakashvili, and deferred reintegration
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman summed up the government’s work this year against the backdrop of an espionage scandal. The Verkhovna Rada showed no rush with considering the Donbas reintegration bill amid the latest escalation on the ground. Ex-Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili slowed down the pace of his current political efforts in Ukraine. New public opinion polls put Yulia Tymoshenko on the top of presidential rating lists.
Week’s balance: easing for businesses, hryvnia drop, and slap in Gazprom’s face in Stockholm
The government canceled more than 300 regulatory acts to facilitate doing business, while the prime minister called on representatives of fiscal bodies who disagree with such a "philosophy" to resign; the National Bank tames the hryvnia with market methods; and the Stockholm Arbitration has announced its final decision on the mutual claims of Naftogaz and Gazprom regarding the contract for the purchase of gas in favor of the Ukrainian side - these are this week’s main economic news.
Conflict over unbundling
Ukraine should in the near future resolve the issue of setting up a consortium for managing its gas transmission system; otherwise, its pipelines will turn into scrap by 2020. The action plan has long been developed but the conflict between the government and Naftohaz hinders its implementation. Experts warn that if they do not stop pulling a blanket, it is Russia who will win.
Flood in Zakarpattia: when currents change flow
This winter, Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia region was hit by a natural disaster, non-typical for this season. The flood saw water level in some rivers exceeding the historical maximum of 2001, while one river’s current even changed the direction of its flow… While rescuers pumped water from flooded households and evacuated villagers, some local men formed into groups to protect dams from terrorist attacks.
Week’s milestones. Saakashvili’s metamorphoses, Tymoshenko's record, and Samopomich’s drift
Mikheil Saakashvili went a path from a "war prisoner" in a courtroom to the one who led the crowd storming the Zhovtnevy Palace concert hall. Yulia Tymoshenko set a record, which she can hardly be proud of. Petro Poroshenko has launched the new Supreme Court. Volodymyr Groysman has sharply reduced his public presence after the Rada adopted the 2018 Budget. "Samopomich" party seems to be getting engaged in a presidential race.
Week’s balance: hope for cheaper air tickets, unrestrained inflation and hryvnia drop
The Ministry of Infrastructure said a national low-cost air carrier would launch operations soon, the European Union postponed its next EUR 600 million tranche of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, the National Bank warned that the inflation rate by year-end and in 2018 may turn out to be higher than expected, while the hryvnia once again feels tipsy - these are the week’s main economic news.
Week’s milestones: Saakashvili detained, anti-graft bodies attacked, Vakarchuk speaks out
The dynamics of political developments last week overshadowed the adoption of the State Budget for 2108. Mikheil Saakashvili was acting weird, constantly surprising the public and attracted general attention. Yuriy Lutsenko tried to prove financial participation of Ukraine’s fugitive tycoon Serhiy Kurchenko in Saakashvili's political activity. The attack by the leaders of coalition factions on NABU has choked but MP Yehor Sobolev was dismissed from the post of head of Rada’s anti-corruption committee. Ukraine’s rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk reminded of himself in a pre-election format.
Week’s balance: budget and new taxes adopted, ProZorro under attack, land sale moratorium extended
For the first time in several years, the Rada managed to pass the state bidget for the next year well ahead of the New Year’s holidays. At the same time, the deputies traditionally made serious changes in the tax legislation, while their attempt to cancel the achievements in the sphere of public procurement and postponement of land reform sparked public outrage - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Transcripts and audio obtained through wiretapping, made public on December 5 in the Verkhovna Rada session hall by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, delivered a hard blow not so much to their very target, Mikheil Saakashvili, but his associates and allies who have long been struggling against corruption and constant delays in required reforms. UNIAN asked some of them, how they reacted to the latest developments.
Week’s milestones. Referendum anticipation, NABU outlaws, and juggling with impeachment
Petro Poroshenko announced an all-Ukrainian referendum on accession to NATO and the European Union. The government approved the draft budget-2018 for its second reading in parliament. In Lviv, the Security Forum turned into a spat and accusations of playing up to Vladimir Putin. Kurt Volker and Vladislav Surkov spoke in different forms of the prospects for the Donbas conflict settlement. The Prosecutor General's Office and NABU got into a serious clash around a bribe provocation in the State Migration Service. Mikheil Saakashvili increasingly resembles a lone ranger.
Representative of the International Criminal Court Fadi el-Abdallah: "Not every attack on the civilian population is considered a crime against humanity"
Spokesperson and head of the public affairs unit at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), Fadi el Abdallah, sat down with UNIAN to tell whether Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea would be subject to the Court’s consideration, and whether the preliminary examination has been completed of Ukraine’s application on Maidan crimes.
Week’s balance: extending moratorium on inspections of businesses, NBU supporting hryvnia, and state budget seeing surplus
President Petro Poroshenko launched an initiative to prolong the moratorium on inspections of businesses throughout 2018, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman announced the adoption of government and Rada’s decisions early next year aimed at accelerating economic growth to 5-7%, and showered criticism on Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee, while the National Bank once again rushed to support the shaken hryvnia - these are the week’s key economic news.
European accelerator for Ukrainian reforms
The "Marshall Plan for Ukraine", initiated by the country’s European friends, intensified the discussion within the EU about the system of incentives for Ukraine’s economic and political development. The Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels last week, saw no breakthrough on the issue, although it did not put an end to the idea. Ukraine is yet to prove to European officials and financiers that the country is worth investing in.
Week’s milestones. Litmus anniversaries, coup in Luhansk and exciting ratings
The anniversary of the Maidan the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Holodomors marked a new trend in Ukraine’s political life. The change of leadership in the occupied Luhansk was accompanied by a plentiful presence of armed men in city streets and a noticeable increase of militant attacks at the frontline. Politicians and stakeholders reacted vigorously to the latest popular ratings.
Week’s balance: criticism in EU, new foreigners for Naftogaz and timid growth of industrial output
EU leaders expressed dissatisfaction with the slowdown of certain reforms in Ukraine, the Cabinet approved the new supervisory board of the state energy holding Naftogaz, the State Statistics Service reported on the timid growth of industrial output in October, while Ukrainian farmers completed the active phase of their autumn field work - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Minister of Social Policy Reva: "Everyone who is employed officially pays twice – for themselves and for another person who is not "
Minister of Social Policy Andriy Reva in an interview with UNIAN told about the implementation of pension reform, discussions with international lenders on its harmonization, the introduction of a funded pension system, and the upcoming changes in the Pension Fund.
How can Ukraine keep qualified workers from leaving country
Ukraine is losing grip of its able-bodied citizens. Everyone seems to be seeking jobs and decent salaries abroad - students and criminals, scholars and entrepreneurs… UNIAN asked labor market experts what Ukraine should to keep hold of its labor power.
Week’s milestones. Budget and Christmas in Parliament, anti-corruption mess, and Avakov, the Constitutionalist
The Verkhovna Rada pleased Catholics and Protestants by including December 25, the Western-style Christmas holiday, in the list of the country’s official days-off and also adopted in the first reading the draft budget for 2018. Petro Poroshenko congratulated the Ukrainian Marines in Mariupol. The relationship between the anti-corruption agencies and the Prosecutor General's Office has been deteriorating rapidly, while the establishment of the State Bureau of Investigation is unlikely to help shift the situation for the better. Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to become prime minister, and this statement allows suggesting a complete collapse of the opposition's hopes for early parliamentary elections. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the People's Front had prepared a draft Constitution of the parliamentary-presidential republic.
Week’s balance: Rada considering budget, creditor giving advice, and NBU waving goodbye to small coins
President of the World Bank Group Jim Jong Kim visited Ukraine and advised that the government speed up reforms, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading the government-offered law on the state budget for 2018, while the National Bank proposed to withdraw from circulation small coins - these are the key economic events of the outgoing week.
Road works booming: Ukraine plans to change its road map within 3 years
Ukraine's roads are among the worst ones in the world, with only Mozambique and Moldova lagging behind. However, in the coming years, the situation may change. The government plans to carry out a tremendous renovation of the country’s motorway infrastructure. UNIAN decided to find out where road construction and repair will start and what will be the cost for taxpayers.