BRUSSELS—The EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said the government in Ukraine is on a good path after his visit to Ukraine last Thursday and Friday.
He was there during the opening session of the new parliament, Verkhovna Rada, the “first Parliament with the necessary majority for reform,” he said on Monday in Brussels.
Internal reforms, especially in the government, are essential for Ukraine to be able to attract investment, Hahn said, which he hopes will replace foreign aid in lifting the debt-ridden country out of the red.
“My key message was: the EU is not just a donor for Ukraine. We need something in return. Ukraine needs to move from an idea of itself as a recipient of aid to the idea of itself as an investment opportunity,” Hahn said.
The IMF is preparing to release its next two tranches of support , together worth $2.7 billion, and the EU has already sent $91 million for regional development and humanitarian assistance there. But Hahn would like to see this money going into investments in the country, a shift he thinks is both pragmatic and more sustainable.
EU Friendly Government
The Ukraine government has a wide majority in the Rada, with President Petro Poroshenko’s party winning 132 of the 423 total seats.
Five out of six parties elected, including the Petro Poroshenko bloc, People’s front, Samopomich, Radical Party, and Batkivshchina, have made a decision to form a pro-European parliamentary coalition.
“[The] pro-European course is clear, and so is the will for the necessary reforms,” Hahn said.
His visit comes one year after the Euromaidan movement that led to the deposition of then president Victor Yanukovych because of his decision to move closer to Russia.
“The public, the voters and those who risked so much on the Maidan, now expect promises to be kept,” Hahn said.
He promised to visit Ukraine every quarter to monitor the country’s progress.