Archive for January 21st, 2010

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An EU Embassy for Ukraine…….

January 21, 2010

http://euobserver.com/9/29308

As some readers may know there are EU deligations in many nations…….136 of them to be exact.

But there are deligations and there are DELIGATIONS.

“The super-delegations have taken on the role previously carried out by the national embassies of the member state holding the six-month EU presidency at any given time.

As such, they now co-ordinate the work of the member states’ bilateral missions to the countries in question. The heads of the 54 delegations are also empowered to speak on behalf of the EU as a whole. But their statements have to be pre-approved by the 27 EU countries during meetings in Brussels.

“They are going to be a bit more political. They will provide the same function that was provided by the given [EU presidency] member state before,” an EU official said.

Eight of the new-model units are in Europe: Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine.”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  I see a lot of people being employed doing very little other than trying to look busy.  I assume that these “super-deligations” answer to Baroness Ashton ultimately.

So who represents the UK bi-lateral missions with Ukraine?  Leigh Turner the Ambassador or the “EU Super-deligation” for Ukraine?

And what if the consesus built opinion or policy of the EU is not the opinion or policy of the UK……or France……or Germany…….because it has been watered down so much to keep all 27 member states reasonably comfortable?

Who does Ukraine listen too when the EU Super deligation says one thing but the 27 Amabssadors for the 27 member States are stating quite another on specific bi-lateral issues relevant to themselves?

How many lines of commication are needed into Ukraine?  27 Ambassadors who are there specifically to represent their own nations interests in Ukraine……and now an “EU Super-deligation” to represent the views of the EU as a whole.

I thought that Ambassadors and Embassies…….amongst their tasks…….were there specifically to represent their particular nation’s interest in a specific country without needing the consensus of opinion of their neighbours.  They are there to, in the case of the UK for example, use available carrots and sticks in the diplomatic bag to negotiate issues with Ukraine specific to those 2 nations.

Now, if there is a policy difference between the UK and the EU……Ukraine is being told two different stories both with the sanction of the UK?

What of sensitive issues the EU may not know about between Ukraine and another nation?

Fortunately anything which will come out of the EU via Baroness Ashton’s Empire will be “fluffy” because it is consensus built…….where as what comes out of the mouth of an Ambassador will (hopefully) be pointed, concise and truly representative of a particular national stance!

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Looking for the female vote?

January 21, 2010

Well dear readers, as you will note from my historical posts, I hold Ms Tymoshenko as a capable politicians surrounded by idiots and Mr yanukovych an idiots surrounded by clever people.

In a country with 4 million more women than men, you would think that the female vote would be quite important amongst those which are not firmly entrenched in either camp.

So, let us look at a sample of Mr Yanukovych being allowed to run his mouth off recently……..

“I’m told that it’s useless and wrong to argue with a woman. I don’t agree with this.  First and foremost, I think that if she is prime minister, she has to be held responsible for everything she says.  And if she is a woman, she has to go to the kitchen,” Yanukovych said.

Hmmmm.  A good ploy to gain the votes of the additional 4 millions females?

It reads like something from Domostroy!

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What changes?

January 21, 2010

Well dear readers, as I have previously posted, under either Presidential winner, Ukraine will end up at the same place……..eventually.

However, one dear reader has sent me an email……bless her……asking me, that as I consider this election to be more about internal policy and change, over and above the past 5 years of seeking “international club membership” as a foreign policy……what changes will occur?

A question worthy of asking and it is not a question of what changes will occur and more of a question of changes which need to occur…….although I fear they will not change much under either candidate.

As many readers will be aware from either knowing me personally or through my ramblings here…….although retired officially at the tender age of 40 something……..I tend to get involved…….willingly or otherwise…….in deal brokering and negotiation for foreign companies with some quite senior people in Ukraine and Russia.

Often in my conversations,  there is what is termed a difference in”mentality”, a “frustration” or a “lack of trust”.

I think it time to set the record straight and say this is not an accurate statement to make in many cases.

The issues with western and eastern business negotiations and deal brokering are the same issues which need to be addressed by the next Ukrainian president, prime minster and cabinet for Ukraine as a whole..

They are all systemic and all relate to a subject I have mentioned many times here……a lack of a strategic plan to bring Ukraine out of the time of the USSR.

I do not mean the mentality……for it has nothing to do with the mentality of people or companies…….I mean the “back office systems”.

Behind every government there is a civil service…….of sorts…….the administrative infrastructure which runs “departments” or the “official organs” of the State.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine have changed the workings of the civil service since the times of the USSR.  The people and the country have moved on since those times…….but the civil service have not.

We have to consider that the Soviet civil service was geared towards one leader, one party, one system and one common thought.  That, after all was the basis of communism.  The system worked well, even if not very efficiently and was of course commensurate with the expectations of the leadership and the public combined.

The amount of interaction with foreigners was extremely limited and their expections were lowered to meet what they saw as an inferior model whilst the Soviet administrative mandarins and civil servants would only every work within the system anyway.

Of course, effectively since 1991 those days have gone…….except the State civil servants, mandarins and official State organs are still working to the Soviet system.  So much so, since the collapse of the USSR, the State departments have not even changed their names……and military style uniforms for such departments are still common place……for no good reason!

Now, with there being now more than one political party, more than one common thought and more than one leader with a mind of their own, the departments continue as they always have because nobody has the vision, will, ability or authority to change them top to bottom, despite the public and the politics leaving these departments and systems back in another century……..quite literally.

Enter the real possibility for corruption…….and enter it has.  With no real oversight or control over these antiquated departments and systems, and not withstanding the incredibly bad pay they recieve, these departments now run amok with no independent oversight to control them.

These departments are of course all regionalised, so in effect the Oblast top dog is “God” in that oblast for that particular department……meaning what he says or does in his oblast may not be the same as the neighbouring oblast but that is the way it is……and nobody is even attempting to get a standard “understanding or interpreation” of any system……or even point of law.

It means “fees” are additionally requested to assist people to get through a system which is inadequte for todays Ukrainians……let alone foreign businesses…….to get what you need in a timely fashion.

This is the “corruption” that most Ukrainians complain about……paying for a next day or faster service…….rather than waiting months for the system to do it’s job.  As not many people can wait months, they will pay the “fee” and hence “corruption” is systemic and with no oversight outside of that Oblast and by that department boss…..who quite often does quite well from their % of the “fees” of course.

It is not a question of a corrupt political elite…….corrupt they may be, most elites are in every nation on earth as they all consider themselves to be untouchable one way or another……..no, the majority of “corruption” in Ukraine results purely from the civil service still working to systems which are not designed to accommodate the new era of political and public expectations from them, whilst going for the most part, unpoliced by any independent authority.

Almost all “corruption” in Ukraine is at a local Oblast level and will never even be heard about by the politicians in the RADA…….and even if they were, these people have their own business and political interests to serve……so without independent oversight, it will continue ad infinitum.

Neither candiate who will be the next president has the determination, drive or ability to change this very basic and dire requirement for Ukraine from top to bottom……..and I am not even sure they recognise this fact anyway. 

Should either of them do it……and it will not be a quick fix……..the public opinion for this candidate would certainly soar and a further term would be guaranteed……because they will have made life better for each and every Ukrainian by getting the civil service updated and with an independent overseer/committee/department to keep the system and interpretation national rather than regional.  Whilst doing so they also reduce the possibilities for corruption by having an independent to which allegations of wrong doing can be made.

If there is a single change to be made by the new President which would affect every single Ukrainian citizen in a way which would benefit them, it is to address the systems to which the civil service and State organs currently work.

I have written many ISO documents and all are about systems, system reporting, management and ultimate authorities at various levels whether they have been in the nuclear industry, construction of manufacturing.  I have done the same for Health & Safety in the same industries.

An effective system is continually under review to reduce error, improve speed and productivity, remove dangers, mitigate circumstances and make everyone know exactly what policy is…….regardless of their stake in the venture or organisation.

There is no point in jailing a few regional officials…….not that they are ever jailed…….for having their fingers in the till or abusing their position…….when the circumstances continue to exist for any replacement of the said official……who have normally been schooled by the one getting the sack…….not that many are sacked for this anyway.

If the administrative, civil service system is bad or so antiquated that it is open to corruption then there is no need to write 1000 more laws on corruption which will never be inforced by the same ineffective system…….the system has to be changed to meet the demands of it in todays Ukraine.

This is what will impress the electorate, this is what Ukraine needs more than any other promises from the next president.

Take the money the EU is giving Ukraine under the heading of “Rule of Law” and “Judiciary”……don’t send them on holidays to look at EU courts……use that money to change the civil service system first and foremost and then the people in it if they do not adhere.

The elite can continue to rape and pillage Ukraine to their hearts content at the highest levels…….just like any other nation……..but at least the average Ukrainians life will improve dramatically whilst you do it!

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