Archive for August 12th, 2017


Germany sends a “decentralisation envoy” to Ukraine

August 12, 2017

Although now forgotten, during the gathering of the last G7 meeting, President Poroshenko invited those seven States to send experts to Ukraine relating to seven specific reform policy areas.

A reader may be wondering just how much external advice the Ukrainian President requires having attracted many foreigners to (short term) Cabinet positions, having created at least two international advisory councils, engaged in endless communication with the vast number of reform supportive national embassies in Kyiv, and notwithstanding the EU embassy and innumerable EU special missions covering many policy areas, NATO, The Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission etc., – all of which have given advice since his inauguration.

There is then the considerable amount of expertise and energy to be found within civil society at his disposal.

Thus, having received the wisdom of literally dozens of foreign politicians, policy implementers, and academics with a history of national reformation, a reader may take a cynical view regarding this latest invitation to attract yet further international experts.  A case of being seen to be doing something (again) will be the perception of many.

That said, cynical or not, such invitations are worthy of note regarding timing – and November will bring about formal discussions regarding a Marshall Plan for Ukraine (if or however that Plan actually manifests by way of money (or not), strategy, reform priority, and duration et al).

Whatever the case, Germany has taken the opportunity to send a special envoy for decentralisation and governance – despite undoubtedly being aware of the enormous amount of advice already given regarding decentralisation, and most assuredly with regard to governance.

As yet the remaining G6 have yet to take up the invitation of President Poroshenko and appoint new people to give (more or less) the same advice as he has been given for the past 3 years.

Professor Georg Milbradt will visit Ukraine between 14th and 19th August, prior to beginning a one year mandate as the German Special Envoy (specialising in decentralisation and governance) with effect from September.

Professor Milbradt is no stranger to politics, reform and academia – nor indeed is he a novice relating to transition.    In 1990 he was put in charge of Saxony to manage German reunification and the transition from a planned socialist economy to a market economy.  He has also been a parliamentarian in the Bundersrat and teaches at the University of Dresden.  Ergo and experienced and intelligent soul.

Whether that will equip him for an oligarch economy and its (perhaps partial) transition to a market economy remains to be seen – for as all his predecessors that have advised the Ukrainian President will know, it is a matter of internal political will, not a lack of good advice that will dictate outcomes.

If no impact is made, and should his mandate not be renewed, he will certainly have developed some views on oligarchy economies to challenge his students with when returning to academia.

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