: Can Ukraine's new cabinet live up to the high hopes?
Politics18:10 Apr. 21, 2016

Can Ukraine's new cabinet live up to the high hopes?

Ministers swiftly approve a new chief of Ukrainian railways company at their first meeting

On April 20th, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine held its first meeting after being appointed by the parliament. This followed almost a 2-month long political crisis in the country when the previous cabinet barely survived a no-confidence vote.

The president of Ukraine has already announced that with the formation of this cabinet the political crisis in the country is effectively over and the ministers hope that their work will prove so as well.

Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources: "First days of our work show that all ministries are eager to work, motivated to work and I feel besides good support of the international community of our future reforms and our future plans."

And future plans of the newly-appointed Prime Minister include a fight with corruption in tax and customs service, defence of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and continuation of reforms of the previous cabinet.

Read also Ukraine's new government must regain trust of people - E.U.

The latter might be the biggest challenge, according to the chief of economy advisors to the prime minister of Ukraine:

Ivan Mikloš, Fmr. Minister of Finance of Slovakia, Chief of Economy Advisors to Prime Minister of Ukraine: "The main challenge is to continue the reforms, not only to continue but speeding up and deepening the reforms, continue in macro-stabilization, fiscal consolidation, and banking sector restructuring, inflation decreasing, currency rate stabilization, and then, of course, speeding up the necessary structure reforms."

Mr. Miklosh served as an advisor to two technocrat ministers in the previous cabinet, both of whom did not make it into the new government and Miklosh says he is not surprised.

Ivan Mikloš, Fmr. Minister of Finance of Slovakia, Chief of Economy Advisors to Prime Minister of Ukraine: "I don't know any really successful transition country, in which reforms were done by technocrats. 36.05 In all successful countries, like Poland, Slovakia, Baltic countries, Georgia, reforms were done not by technocrats, but by politicians."

The ministers got down to work right away – passing a record number of decisions. One of which was the appointment of a Polish crisis manager as chief of the Ukrainian railways company. The minister of infrastructure, who will be working closely with the new appointee, was more than happy:

Volodymyr Omelyan, Minister Of Infrastructure: "I was really excited. I would say that 2 weeks ago there was clear understanding that this appointment would never happen. I think that he's ready to repeat his success story. I'm 100% supportive of his motivation and his real change of Ukraine's railways."

And from what we heard from the new chief of Ukrainian railways, he knows exactly what the main problems are and how to tackle them:

Wojciech Balczun, Chairman Of Ukrainian Railways Company 'Ukrzaliznytsia': "We should think about more efficient railway system in Ukraine and connected to the European Union. I know that Lviv has big potential as a logistics center for Ukraine and also for the European Union."

But not all of the ministers have such a clear vision of their objectives. The vice Prime Minister for European integration wasn't ready to answer our question about the main challenges of her position:

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime-Minister for European Integration: "We will talk about that next time, ok. Because I still do not know what will be the main challenge."

With the high hopes comes the high stakes. If the new cabinet will not prove to be more effective than the previous one, Ukraine will likely not be able to survive yet another political crisis.

This is Volodymyr Solohub and Dmytro Orlov reporting from Kyiv for Ukraine Today.

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