The Presidential Presser

May 14, 2017

It is almost a year since President Poroshenko did anything approaching a press conference for the domestic press – as opposed to issued statements and/or Soviet-esque monologues.

Following Eurovision, and ahead of the final two signatures required for Visa-free to be applied to the documentation in Strasbourg in a few days time, it also has to be noted that sometime within 25 and 30 May The Netherlands seem likely to apply the final signature to complete the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

A lot of events that President Poroshenko will want to be personally associated – albeit much work was done prior to him becoming president.

So be it.   That is the nature of politics.  Claim the wins and blame the loses elsewhere (whilst seemingly adhering to the old adage “For my friends everything – for everybody else, the law!”).

As always with press conferences, much like any conference or forum, the Q&A session is always far more interesting than the prepared oratory.

Naturally many questions were asked and answered.  Yet more questions that could and perhaps should have been asked, weren’t.  Some issues made it to the Presidential website – and others don’t.

Nevertheless, among the issues raised (and others may be pondered over in later entries) upon the immediate parliamentary agenda is that of a new Head of the NBU, to which the President stated it was unwise to name names he was considering until discussions had been held with faction leaders of the Verkhovna Rada – insuring a successful vote for whomever is agreed upon/can be forced through.

Clearly whoever succeeds will have to be a professional banker first and foremost – and one with no personal political or business connections to anybody in power.  They will have to be of strong character and able to consolidate the successes of their predecessor, preventing any policy rollback.

Moreover, protecting and consolidating inherited successes will of course not be enough.

Looking to the future, aside from fulfilling the NBU mandate, any successor will have to attempt to recover as much as is humanly, legally and enforcibly possible, of the NBU financing that has been spent during the banking clean-up and return as much of that large expenditure to the NBU balance sheet and onward to the State budget circumstances allowing.

Naturally these acts of financial recovery will not be popular among the oligarchy and organised criminality that were behind so many shuttered or nationalised banks.  It will be a task just as difficult and just as prone to external threats and pressure as those placed upon the previous incumbent.

Perhaps, if the President is to be believed, before the summer legislative holidays we shall know which brave/poor soul will take on such a very difficult task.

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