Motor and brake of Ukrainian reforms: how not to follow Moldova's example

Author : Olena Trehub

Source : 112 Ukraine

Chisinau continues to receive loans and grants for e-governance, but the country does not pass laws that ensure transparency
15:41, 8 June 2016

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Recently I had an opportunity to visit Moldova; it was a business trip concerning European funding of Ukrainian and Moldovan projects. After work, I have visited central park of Chisinau...

Destroyed streets, protests near the Parliament because of the stolen billion, dramatic brain drain. One oligarch is now in prison, while another one is in power.

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People say that before the reforms, life in Moldova was even worse. So, what is the lesson for Ukraine?

All of us must know that the old system and its specific representatives are the enemies of change. If the government and civil society do not reach the irreversible point of changes, we will lose this chance for a better life.

In this case, the country will drown in poverty and corruption, with no clear timeframe transformations.

Related: U.S. Department of State: Ukraine’s judicial reform is a huge step forward in fighting corruption

Like Ukraine, Moldova has long been an oligarchic country, where policy-money-election cycle is something natural and continuous, as the cycling of matter in nature.

After the revolution of 2009, there was kind of a push in Moldova.

In 2010-2011, the "technocrats" with Western education and professional standards came to power to conduct the reforms. Nevertheless, the system actually outwitted these young people. As a result, most of them now are abroad or at least outside government.

Olena Trehub

Moldova continues to receive loans and grants for e-governance; technically, this country is successful. At the same time, the country does not pass laws that ensure transparency, because it is not profitable.

Supposedly, Moldova conducts financial decentralization, but it is blocked by territorial-administrative reform, because it is not profitable for the elections.

Anticorruption center allegedly works, but it does not have a "special mandate" as in Romania. If a person is suspected of corruption, the state does not have the direct authority of tapping of his phone.

Moreover, until recently, there was a requirement to warn the suspect about wiretapping!

And the most interesting thing is the use of international technical assistance.

I am talking about the reform, which I am trying to implement in Ukraine. Moldova has implemented it 5 years ago, a centralized coordination of all official aid in one center (state office), Internet portal, system monitoring, and transparency of the projects.

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Those who created and promoted all these mechanisms have gone from power. They have retreated because of frustration, lack of political will to change, and low wages. But the reform was initiated and partly implemented. These people have left a huge footprintin history of Moldova.

For example, Ukraine has not received any US grants for infrastructure; Ukraine has not met the eligibility criteria, and it counts only on loans. Back in 2010, "Millennium Challenge Corporation" has allocated $ 200 million non-repayable assistance for new roads in Moldova.

Related: NATO to increase aid to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova

Unlike Ukraine, Moldova adheres to standards of transparency of international aid, and it is a member of IATI, International aid transparency initiatives, which uploads almost all donors of the Development Assistance Committee of Economic Cooperation and Development in Europe. This is very positive for the international reputation.

Moldova has overtaken us in cooperation with EU funding through the European Neighbourhood; it meets the requirements of the EU financial interest protection (under the Association Agreement).

In 2016, Moldova adopted a law that likened grant funds to the EU budget and imposed criminal penalties for their misuse.

Moldovan anticorruption bureau has signed a memorandum with the European Anti-Fraud Office. The push, created a few years ago, brought Moldova to another level of international cooperation.

Even if the country’s leadership is corrupted and inflexible, letting the reformers on the lower level, the system is capable of change.

However, without the political will these changes are too insignificant to talk about the transformational effect for the entire country.

Related: Ukrainian producers to export foods to Moldova, - Pavlenko

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