A leading Ukrainian industrialist has called for more rapid development of the country’s private sector to help its battered economy recover from the ravages of the bitter civil war. Speaking in Brussels, Anatoliy Kinakh, president of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE), also urged strengthening of Ukrainian civil society.
Kinakh’s comments came after meeting in Brussels with key officials from the European Commission, European External Action Service and Members of the European Parliament involved in Ukrainian issues.
Officials from both sides discussed priority issues considered vital for the modernisation and development of the Ukrainian economy which has been left in tatters by the year-long conflict with Russian separatists in the east of the country.
The parties also discussed Ukraine’s recent accession to Horizon 2020 and possible accession to COSME in the nearest future – pan-European programmes that open new opportunities for Ukrainian entrepreneurs both in Ukraine and in the EU.
Kinakh is in Brussels this week to attend the official opening of the opening of the ULIE’s Representative Office to the EU on Tuesday. The Office seeks to cooperate with other business associations in Ukraine working on ensuring Ukraine’s prosperity.
ULIE is the largest business association in Ukraine with members ranging from large companies to small and medium enterprises.
At the meeting, Kinakh and the Ukrainian delegation held discussions about reviewing the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy with a view to increasing EU financial support for the Ukrainian private sector.
Kinakh told the Brussels Times, “Ukraine must do its homework to adjust the domestic economy to the conditions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and strengthen the influence of the civil society in setting the quality standards and the dynamics of structural reform in the country.
“We will continue to focus on development of the private sector, which creates jobs and generates taxes for the budget. This is crucial in the context of the current economic downturn and the changing environment for Ukrainian enterprises foreseen in the full implementation of the EU-Ukraine DCFTA starting in 2016.”
The current EU support package for Ukraine is around €11bn until 2020, of which more than three quarters are loans while the rest is made up by grant funds.
However, only around 3% of these funds (€250-350m) are envisaged for support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ukraine.
Kinakh added, “Even so, access even to this portion of the funds is quite problematic. European support is almost inaccessible for Ukrainian businesses, primarily because of the unrealistic terms of lending. It should be adjusted to the current realities in Ukraine.”
The ULIE delegation also requested EU endorsement and support of the implementation of a new proposed “Industrial Policy for Ukraine”, recently adopted by the Committee on Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of the Ukrainian Parliament.
The delegation members also included Jan Tombinski, head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, and Kostiantyn Elisieiev, head of the Mission of Ukraine to the EU.
Others attending the opening include Ryszard Czarnecki, a Vice-President of the European Parliament; MEP
By Martin Banks