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EU postponed Ukraine donor conference

November 13, 2014

Amongst the many ways Ukraine is seeking to remain afloat economically, and as briefly mentioned in yesterday’s entry, aside from the IMF, WB, EIB, EBRD etc., is a planned international donor conference for Ukraine.

Very good – but what of the conference of donors to which President Poroshenko alludes and participation in which Turkey is prepared to undertake?

The European Commission had prepared to host and participate in an international donors conference for Ukraine in Brussels this year.  That conference has now been postponed until some time in 2015 – to a date as yet unknown – despite President Poroshenko drumming up participants during official (and unofficial) interaction with other sovereign states.

Why has it been delayed?  More glacial inaction by the EU Commission?  A severe lack of interest by other sovereign States?

The answer is “no” to all three questions.

The reason the European Commission has been forced to postpone a donor conference that is clearly in the interests of Ukraine is simple.  The problem is Ukraine.

The donors conference invites participants to assist Ukraine in meeting challenges it expects to face during the medium and long term – it is not a quick passing around of the hat for donated foreign treasure to throw into the war chest of eastern Ukraine and the immediate issues there.

Lest anybody forget, the war in eastern Ukraine relates to a very small part of Ukraine – most of the country is (economics and volunteer brigade fighters aside) unaffected as far as daily life is concerned.  In short only a tiny part of Ukraine is currently facing the very sharp end of Kremlin aggression militarily.

The entire nation, however, suffers from a hideous economic situation, what many believe to be several “odious debts” in their absolute legal meaning – something that perhaps all previous Ukrainian leaderships may be guilty of rather than simply associating all with the ousted Yanukovych regime – not to mention a currently perceived lack of leadership over anything other than the eastern war.  As such any new government and RADA will not have long to be seen to provide such leadership before societal discontent rallies once more.

Thus far, and indeed the singular reason for the postponement of the EU organised donors conference for Ukraine is that Ukraine has not given any indication whatsoever on where any forthcoming investment should be directed.  It has offered up no medium or long term plan for donors to decide where their funding is best suited – and will be accepted domestically by their own constituents.

In short, Kyiv has not yet provided the EU with a clear strategy or identified requirements over the medium and long term requiring donor support.

Thus the European Commission donor conference in Brussels planned for this year, in an effort to assist Ukraine as swiftly as possible, has been postponed until an unknown date 2015 – due entirely to the lack of input by Ukraine itself.

Whether this situation has occurred due to a presidential desire to agree such matters with the new RADA prior to pressing ahead, or whether it has occurred due to simple incompetence by the Ukrainian leadership is for readers to decide – there is no real way of knowing what is indeed the case, from anything in the public domain.  However, that  Johannes Hahn,  the new EU Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner, has now officially postponed the donor conference to a date to be fixed in 2015, would suggest that the European Commission expected Ukraine to have its act together regarding medium/long term areas of investment this year.  Inferences may – and probably will be – drawn.

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