The EU association agreement

Sep 6th, 2013 | By | Category: Economics, European Union, Human Rights, News

With plans for an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU, I offer a supportive voice to that of Taras Danko, who wrote recently:

“The mechanisms of EU’s Eastern Partnership should provide the facilities for assisting Ukraine in order to eliminate the domino effect on other European economies. While the macroeconomic steps that could be taken are quite clear – free markets, elimination of corruption, rule of law, improved investment climate – the particular branches of industries, SMEs, as well as major corporations also need their own action plans for getting into the safe waters. The EU expertise as well as technical assistance to Ukraine can do a lot in this respect.”

In 2008, through an initiative known as the EU Citizens Consultation, such a support program was proposed, with a primary focus on the childcare system. It drew attention to the HIV epidemic which had become a threat to all Europe:

In 2012 it was drawn to the attention of EU Commissioner Michel Barnier through the democratic process of a complaint channelled through MEP Sir Graham Watson.

I leave it for Ukrainians to decide to what extent they will experience democracy as a result of this agreement.

Fri, 12/12/2008 – 17:55

Microeconomic development and social enterprise, A ‘Marshall Plan’ strategy for Ukraine

The EU is seeking an increasingly close relationship with Ukraine, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation.

The purpose of this plan is to address poverty which renders children into institutions or the streets, on to a life of either crime or prostitution in a vicious cycle which has contributed to Europe’s largest HIV epidemic which the UN now considers a threat to All Europe.

We propose a microeconomic ‘Marshall Plan’ strategy, as a mix of components in a 4 year implementation to end this cycle of deprivation once and for all.

Focus of this plan is on the microeconomic sector because this is the most effective way to immediately meet the fundamental objectives of a Marshall Plan: policy directed against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Tools, innovations and methodologies are available today that were not available sixty years ago for tightly-focused microeconomic development aimed specifically and very effectively at target objectives. This is not to diminish nor detract from macroeconomic factors that continue to impede Ukraine’s development. Those factors include such things as tax reform, energy policy, continued reduction of systemic corruption, Constitutional reform, and fostering further development of civil society and freedom of media.

The most urgent component of the project below is relief and modern medical treatment for tens of thousands of Ukraine’s children diagnosed as psychoneurologically handicapped. Many have died in state care, in primitive and inhumane conditions. Many are misdiagnosed, and end up in atrocious conditions. Following intense publicity and public discussion of the issue during final preparation of this project, Ukraine’s government agreed on 5 March, 2007 to open more than 400 new treatment facilities for these children all over Ukraine. That commitment from Ukraine’s government was a major step forward, clearly demonstrating Ukraine’s willingness and ability to take initiative in childcare reform first and foremost.

As will become clear, childcare reform involves a complex, intertwined, interconnected set of issues and problems. It is therefore essential to outline these issues and problems and deal with them together as a whole. Key elements are childcare reform, poverty reduction, and communications infrastructure. Underpinning this effort is a new Center for Social Enterprise to be based in Kharkiv National University. CSE will include an academic program combining business, social services, social sciences and modern medical science into a new interdisciplinary academic discipline and program, social enterprise. This Center will engage students, faculty, business leaders, policy makers and citizen organizations and citizens in a common, unified program toward fulfilling the initial objectives outlined herein. The Center will further create new programs as participants learn new, innovative ways of thinking in identifying, analyzing, understanding and resolving Ukraine’s social and economic
problems.

We see a nation staggering under the crushing burden of widespread poverty, the extent of which no one is sure but which most people assessing the situation realistically is at least twenty five percent of the population. We understand that communication – particularly high-speed Internet communication at a cost that is affordable to half the population and all businesses – is essential for economic growth and development so that poverty can be reduced.

We see a staggering array of social problems arising directly from poverty, including but not limited to tens of thousands of children in orphanages or other state care; crime; disrespect for civil government because government cannot be felt or seen as civil for anyone left to suffer in poverty; young people prostituting themselves on the street; drug abuse to alleviate the aches and pains of the suffering that arises from poverty and misery; HIV/AIDS spreading like a plague amidst prostitution, unprotected sex, and drug abuse; more children being born into this mix and ending up in state care at further cost to the state; criminals coming from poverty backgrounds, ending up as bandits, returning to communities after prison, with few options except further criminal activity. These are all part and parcel of the vicious negative cycle of poverty, and this threatens to destroy Ukraine, if Ukraine is defined in terms of people rather than mere geographic boundaries. Overall, population is steadily declining; families have not sufficient confidence in tomorrow to reproduce more than 1.2 children on average per couple.

A full transcript of the strategy paper may be found here:

http://www.p-ced.com/1/projects/ukraine/national/

 

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