: Estonian Jaanika Merilo latest foreigner to join Ukrainian government
Politics15:44 Jan. 6, 2015

Estonian Jaanika Merilo latest foreigner to join Ukrainian government

3 non-Ukrainians already cabinet ministers including American Natalie Jaresko

Jaanika Merilo has become the latest foreign national to join the Ukrainian government. The Estonian has taken up a position as an advisor to the minister for economic development who is himself also a foreigner - Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius. Merilo will be tasked with bringing more foreign investment into Ukraine and improving the country's business climate.

Foreign appointments have become a key part of Ukraine's mission to reform its economy and crack down on corruption. The country now boasts three non-Ukrainians in the ranks of its cabinet. Alongside Abromavicius are US-born Natalie Jaresko as finance minister and Alexander Kvitashvili, who is now Ukraine's Health Minister. All three were granted Ukrainian citizenship just hours before they took up their posts.

Natalie Jaresko, Ukrainian Finance Minister: "I think what we should be looking at, from my perspective, is that Ukraine is a country which is attracting people who are dedicated regardless of where their initial citizenship was or where they were born. We have always heard a lot of discussion about Ukrainians emigrating and now what you see are people immigrating into Ukraine right here. Not only to live but to serve."

Merilo's appointment means there are now two high-profile foreigners working in the ministry for economic development. They will undoubtedly need all their international experience to help pull Ukraine out of recession, with the economy having contracted by some 7.5% in 2014.

Photo source: Jaanika Merilo's Facebook Page 

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