EU and Ukraine: common steps into the future

Some €58 million was provided to Ukraine by the EU in 2018 for the development of professional education in the field of infrastructure modernization and the creation of centres of excellence.

The corresponding Agreement between Ukraine and the European Commission on funding of the “EU4Skills” project was approved within the framework of the Ukraine-EU Association Council.

Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Volodymyr Omelyan, speaking at the Czech-Ukrainian Business Forum in Prague, said that Ukrainian infrastructure is open for investment and innovation and is actively reforming and integrating into the European infrastructure area.

Omelyan, speaking alongside representatives of Czech business, said the infrastructure sector is becoming increasingly attractive for investment every year and a genuine competitive struggle has started between large foreign companies.

However, not everything is quite as rosy as might seem.

Corruption and the misuse of funds by local officials in Ukraine jeopardises the international community's hopes of Ukraine’s ability to contribute to economic development and growth.

Alongside the annexation of the Crimea and events in Eastern Ukraine, the problems of internal migration are becoming more and more relevant.

Another problem is the rising population of Kyiv which is increasing, according to unofficial statistics, at the rate of 100,000 a year. That means the capital now needs new infrastructure projects in order to prevent overpopulation.

Nevertheless, despite the attraction of foreign investment, local elites remain influential in Kyiv. They are said to closely cooperate with the capital's administration to impede the construction and development of social projects.

The corresponding problem is constantly encountered by some of the country's largest developers  such as "Bud development", "Intergal-bud", "Arkada Bank" and "Kyivmiskbud".

Vitalii Klitchko, the former boxer and now Mayor of Kiev, is said to manually regulate issuance of permission documents in the construction industry. Investigations by Radio Svoboda - an international nonprofit broadcast organization funded by the US Congress - reports close cooperation by the city’s mayor with Maksym Mykytas, ex-president of the Concern "UkrBud" and other construction firms.

It is claimed that kick-back schemes of the mayor and his immediate circle reach 5% of the cost of building some projects. In addition, in Kyiv, two general development plans "are operating in parallel with each other." On the basis of this developers are allocated land parcels for development and KCSA is said to receive hundreds and even millions of dollars from it.

Such a trend in the Kyiv is becoming typical when the mayor of the capital is set on a certain course, the Kyiv City State Administration overlooks the law and the departments of the KCSA allegedly falsify the facts and stamp the necessary documents.

According to former Minister of Housing and Communal Services, Oleksiy Kucherenko, corruption in the Kyiv City State Administration impedes the implementation of the socially important project "Patriotyka by the Lakes" by the Arkada Bank. This is being erected in accordance with the general plan for the development of the city, which was drafted at the time of the then mayor, Alexander Omelchenko.

Development of such projects can address the issue of internal migration in Ukraine and serve as an example for Europe in dealing with the migration issue. The project envisages the construction of 7,000 apartments for 13,500 - 14,000 people, 4,500 car parks, 2 schools for 36 classes per 1000 pupils each, a kindergarten for more than 500 children. All infrastructure objects are built at the expense of the developer although funds for this should be allocated to the KCSA.

"Patriots by the lakes" was recognized as the best social and infrastructure project at the conference "Municipal Strategy of Kyiv" which took place earlier this week.

Experts in the field of housing and communal services, people's deputies and public figures joined the discussion of the municipal strategy of Kyiv. According to Georgiy Dukhinichny, a member of the Board of the National Union of Architects of Ukraine and a member of the Ukrainian Committee ICOMOS, “this is an ideal construction that meets the requirements of town planning.”

ARKADA Bank controls the funds of investors and if KCSA allegedly ignores the interests of hundreds of families because of corruption, what kind of international cooperation can be considered?

The question remains: Will Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit continue to finance social projects in Ukraine and who will stop alleged wrongdoing by the city administration?

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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