Many politicians are worried by the idea that their political career may end prematurely if they undertake substantial reforms. However, both academic studies and the experience of post-Soviet countries show that reformers are not doomed to become “political kamikaze”. Based on the examples of Georgia, Slovakia and Latvia, this article reveals some patterns that define the political destiny of reformers – and can influence the career of the newly appointed Ukrainian Prime-Minister Volodymyr Hroysman.
iMoRe 35: May Mire, or Contradictory Reforms: Odious Law on the Prosecutor General’s Office and Contested Opening of Air Transportation Market
iMoRe index reveals that reforms in Ukraine switched from small to paltry steps in the second half of May. What was important in the country and how it affected the pace of reforms?
There are about 10 international organizations that are ready to provide financial assistance to Ukrainian SMEs. Do all Ukrainian export-oriented companies know about this opportunity? It turns out that only 5% of companies are aware of it. What do Ukrainian firms lose as a result? Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
Two main articles caused the second wave of accusations against Petro Poroshenko over his links to offshore companies. The first one, by Dmytro Gnap and Anna Babinets, which appeared on May 18, voiced the suspicion that Petro Poroshenko transferred 4 million dollars abroad. The second one appeared on Deutsche Welle on May 19 and argued that Petro Poroshenko secretly owned a factory in Germany. Overall, the media coverage of this topic in May was much less intense than in April. For instance, on April 4, media generated 1607 messages, while the second wave translated into just 600 messages in four days (May 17-20). Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
At the beginning of 2016 as part of its reform of the tax code, Ukraine reduced significantly the social security contribution (SSC) paid by firms. The payroll tax rate was massively reduced from an average of 44% to 22%. The idea behind this reform is to reduce labour costs, so that firms become more competitive, boosting exports, investment and real wages. A further motivation is to reduce the level of the significant shadow economy in the country. Does it work in Ukraine?
During its existence, the National Bank of Ukraine has issued 23 annual reports. The “text mining” analysis of their content helps track the evolution of the banking market in Ukraine. Moreover, it helps determine how efficient the NBU has been and what goals it has considered to be the most important. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
This article argues that due to long-term changing migratory patterns and wider geopolitical shifts in the region, the EU’s visa liberalisation with Ukraine will be a largely short-term symbolic gesture, as Ukrainians will increasingly demand access to the EU labour market instead of mere short-term travel possibilities. As a result, there is a need to stop perceiving visa liberalisation as a political event, and rather present it as part of a long-term process towards an increased but managed cross-border mobility.
The international assistance to Ukraine is booming. According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, during the last two years the amount of grants and technical assistance reached almost $1 bn. This is 1.5 times less than what Ukraine had received in 2008-2013. Moreover, since Maidan, international financial organizations have provided $3.5 bn of loans at a tiny interest rate to Ukraine. Is Ukraine using these huge resources effectively? “(Your) country does not need to ask for extra money, as what had been provided before, has not been used,” – said recently the head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski. What prevents Ukraine from successfully cooperating with foreign donors?
On the example of the gas market, which is perhaps the most actively reforming, we can examine the inconsistency of Ukrainian powers. We heard the right words, it’s look like we’re moving in the right direction, the consumer is paying more and more, but the investors are not coming. The competitive market is absent, the infrastructure is not being upgraded, the gas losses are increasing.
What has the greatest impact on gas consumption in Ukraine: loss of territory, war, economic crisis, warm winter or price hike? Until very recently, there has been no answer to this question, so Ukrainian politicians have used those facts that suited them best. Oleksii Khabatiuk, the Director of the Environmental Investments Fund, settles the question once and for all in this article. What does gas consumption in Ukraine depend on, and by how much?
Can Everything be Ranked? The Fallacies of Ranking Labour Regulations and Reforming Ukrainian Labour Laws with the Aim of Improving its Scores
We live in the era of rankings. However, if poorly constructed or misinterpreted, composite indicators on which international rankings are based can lead to simplistic and even wrong conclusions. Moreover, it may not be appropriate to rank such topics as labour market regulations. This post explains why justifying labour reforms with the aim of improving Ukraine’s position in aggregate rankings should be by all means avoided. Instead, labour reforms should be undertaken with the view of actual needs of Ukraine.