2017: The Pace of Reforms in Ukraine is Accelerating
In 2017 Ukraine has continued to implement structural reforms, generating positive trends in different areas of the state policy despite internal and external challenges. Against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian aggression and destabilizing attempts, Ukraine has advanced the reform agenda and made considerable progress in its European path by launching reforms in seven critical sectors such as education, judiciary, pension system, healthcare, public administration, cybersecurity and electoral law.
Further developments have been registered in fight against corruption, which remains the top priority for the Ukrainian authorities.
Key strategic documents underpinning the reform process have been adopted: the Government's action plan 2017-2020, a new Government action plan for the implementation of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and a corresponding web-based monitoring tool was launched in October 2017.
- Ukraine remains committed to advancing on the path of comprehensive reforms aimed at transforming the country in line with the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
- Despite the on-going Russian aggression and attempts by Moscow to destabilize the internal situation in Ukraine, we have launched in 2017 new reforms in seven critical sectors: education, the judiciary, the pension system, healthcare, public administration, cybersecurity and electoral law.
- The governmental plans of reforms are based on the proposals of the National Reform Council, The Reform Delivery Office of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ukraine-EU Association Agreement and IMF program. Concrete steps are envisaged by the Governmental Medium-Term Action Plan up to 2020, adopted in April, and the Plan of Priority Actions for 2017 as its integral part.
- The introduction of the visa-free regime with the EU is a recognition of the success of the Ukrainian pro-European reforms.
- Fight against corruption continues to be at the top of the agenda of the Ukrainian authorities. Anticorruption agencies have become fully operational, participating actively in anti-corruption efforts.
- A dedicated Anticorruption Court is envisaged by the Bill on the Judiciary and the Status of Judges, adopted in 2016. The relevant Parliamentary Working Group is expected to present the draft bill which should comply with the recent Venice Commission recommendations. As soon as the draft bill is prepared, the President will submit it for approval to the Parliament.
- Reform of Judiciary: The new Supreme Court of Ukraine is being set up from scratch via open, fair and transparent competition with active participation of civil society (assessment of candidates by the Public Integrity Council). On 11 November 113 out of 120 judges, who had won the competition, were appointed by the President of Ukraine.
- The new Supreme Court will consist of 96% of people who have never worked in the previous Supreme Court of Ukraine. About 25% of new judges came from advocacy and scientific circles.
- By adopting the new Law on Education in full compliance with the European standards Ukraine has made a considerable step towards new quality of education, which will meet the requirements of the XXI century. Gradual increase of the role of the state language in the education process remains principal position of the government, at the same time the relevant recommendations of the Venice Commissions will be implemented.
- A long-awaited healthcare reform, launched following the adoption of the relevant law, will improve the medical services and access to them, as well as introduce the comprehensive health insurance system;
- Decentralization: In 2017, local elections were held in 242 newly amalgamated communities as part of the ongoing decentralization, increasing the number of amalgamated communities to 614, which represent 20% of Ukraine's territory. Local budgets have continued to increase, amounting to almost 50% of the unified budget in 2017 (the highest rate over the history of modern Ukraine).
- Ukraine has climbed to 76th place in the World Bank's Doing Business ranking, while three years ago Ukraine was 112th.
- Significant enhancement of Ukraine’s position in the Paying Taxes 2018 ranking, prepared jointly by World Bank Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, proves to the efficiency of the tax reform. Comparing to the previous year, Ukraine has made significant progress, climbing up from 84th to 43rd place among 190 countries.
- In September Ukraine has launched the second stage of public administration reform, aimed at improvement of the quality of civil service and public.
- Ukraine continued to successfully address significant macroeconomic challenges. GDP grew by 2.5% in the first quarter of 2017 and by 2.3% in the second quarter of the year.