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Friday, March 2, 2007

Yanukovich speech at German business meeting

This is a PM speech during his meeting in Germany with local top business. It's pretty interesting and little bit funny (especially regarding a mistake with German president). Of course it wasn't in English :) Just read and comment it if you want...


My last visit to Berlin was four years ago. During this time the city has been distinctly changed. I have been stuck by the change scale.

I absolutely agree with the words of former German President Richard von Weizsacker: The amenities of Germany are its cities. Berlin is among them – neither the oldest nor the most beautiful. But the life is so vivid here”.

Thereby, Berlin reminds me of Kyiv which experiences now rapid development and changes almost every year. A number of building sites is a sign of sound economic situation in the country.

I would like to stress that we go through real building boom in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk and other cities. I know that the last year have been extremely successful for German economy.

The economy of Ukraine, in spite of significant rise in energy resources prices and complicated inner political situation, shows high rate of growth.

I do not want to burden you with figures, I only say that in 2006 real GDP of Ukraine increased by 7% and in January of the current year - by 9,3%. The real incomes of the population and wages increased twofold. The economic growth and real incomes of the population resulted in the increase of customer demand more than fourfold. The export is increasing again. The import has to a greater extent the investment and innovation character.

Therefore, in spite of political challenges the economy of Ukraine has demonstrated high stability. In particular, I am glad to note that dynamic investment activity has been resumed. The inner investments increased by 16% last year.

The foreign investments amounted to 4,3% USD during the past year. It is three times as much than three years ago. To my mind, it is a sign of the investment climate improvement in Ukraine. By the way, the International Rating Agency Fitch has officially noted the fall of political risks in Ukraine for business and investors. Today, the Government poses new tasks - speeding-up growth and providing stable economic development and increasing common weal.
With this purpose the Government of Ukraine completes the Development Program till 2011 aimed at stable economic growth. We understand that opportunities of the extensive development are exhausted.

And so, we task to use the innovation-investment model of development based on high technologies and scientific, energy saving, export-oriented production. We want in full measure to use transit potential of Ukraine, create long-term guarantees of energy security of our state and transit energy stability for our neighbors.

The Government focuses attention on the problem of competitiveness of the Ukrainian enterprises at home and foreign markets. But, the matter does not concern the protective measures. The equal and transparent regulations will be established both for native and foreign businessmen.

In 2007 the Government intends to stir up privatization of state property and guarantee transparency in this sphere. We expect privatization of such giants as Ukrtelecom, Ukrnafta, Odesa Port Plant. We are working at the sale mechanism of shares of these enterprises at fund platforms.

The Cabinet focuses significant attention of creating favorable conditions for attracting foreign investments in innovation sphere, in particular. The Council of Investors has been established recently under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The Council is a constantly active consultative-deliberative body with the assistance of leading, native and foreign investors.
Profiting by the occasion, I would like to invite German businessmen to the work in the Council.

At the same time the Ukrainian Government will hardly take measures directed at fighting corruption as a key reason for impeding the economic reforms and obstacles on the path to increasing foreign investments in the country. Recently, the Government has adopted the Concept of reforming the tax system aimed to form the transparent tax system and lessen tax load onto the economy.

We are also working at creating efficient judicial authority.

The economic stability will be a guaranty of steady strengthening of the institutions of democracy, ensuring basic rights and freedoms of people. We aim to make every Ukrainian family be confident in the future. After all, the reforms are not unreasonable if they provide increase of common weal, security and stability in the country.

You, probably, observe on the events in Ukraine. I would like to note that they are not always objectively reflected in the German and western press, sometimes usual models and stereotypes are used. The reality is much more complicated, it cannot be painted using only black-and-white colors.

Ukraine is passing a complicated stage of transformation from the presidential-parliamentary to parliamentary-presidential model of the political system. The objective is the point that such scale changes in the division of powers between the different branches of power entail aggravation of the inner political contradictions.

I want to ensure you that despite the emotional and violent discussions on the Ukrainian political stage, the Government of Ukraine has succeeded in arranging a constructive dialogue and cooperation with the President and Parliament.

Sometimes we have different ways of looking but our common view concerns the main directions of the development, key priorities of the foreign policy of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government will consistently pursue the course of the country’s integration into the European and world political and economic structures.

We hope that already in the first quarter of 2007 all procedures necessary for Ukraine’s membership in the WTO will be completed. We also expect that after Ukraine joins the WTO, the formal talks on concluding Agreement on creating free economic zone between Ukraine and the European Union will be initiated.

The European integration remains a strategy priority for Ukraine.

In a few days, we start negotiations with the European Union on a new base Agreement on cooperation which, to our mind, should contain a message for clear European prospect of Ukraine. Ukraine understands the institutional problems of the EU and problems concerning the constitutional process. We hope to see the same understanding of our stand from the direction of the European Union.

We will not give up our European aspirations and continue to insist on the EU openness toward Ukraine. At that, Ukraine will not waste time. We will carry out reforms in all spheres of life with the purpose to join the European community as an economically strong, stable and equal partner.

I recall the words of one of the authors of the German economic miracle of the years of 50-60s of the past century Ludwig Edhard who dreamt of “Europe of free and equal people”. Realizing the scale of our tasks, we are grateful for your readiness to support Ukraine toward the high European economic and social standards of life. In this context, Germany has always been and still remains an important political and main economic partner of Ukraine in Europe.

Today, according to the volumes of foreign-economic operations with Ukraine Germany takes the second place after the Russian Federation and the first one among the European countries. Germany is the biggest foreign investor of the Ukrainian economy. Germany is restoring with confidence its role of a locomotive of economic growth in Europe, integration processes within the EU framework. And this fact makes an impact and significance on the development of cooperation between our countries.

Today, during the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel we have concentrated special attention on deepening bilateral economic cooperation. In spite of stable increase of the commodity turnover between our countries we consider the potential of our economic cooperation is very big yet.

The revival of economic market of Ukraine and Germany, great interestedness of the Ukrainian and German enterprises in deepening cooperation are prerequisites for significant broadening of bilateral trade-economic cooperation.

Together we have great opportunities for deepening cooperation in the spheres of high technologies, energy, mechanical engineering, transport, implementation of scale economic projects.

During our discussion with Mrs. Merkel we have agreed to actively support the ideas of business circles of both countries. I believe that exactly business forms the potential of the Ukrainian-German economic cooperation. We have a unique chance to search for new forms of cooperation, original investment projects, promising ideas.

You realize your opportunities. And we have a chance to attract the German experience, capital and progressive technologies. The Ukrainian-German High Level Group on Economic Issues is working in this direction. The Group held two sittings, the last one in October 2006 in Kyiv.

As you know, according to the results of this sitting, the sides have determined the priority directions of the activity. We hope for active participation of German businessmen in the work of the High Level Group and respective working groups.

We also expect to achieve concrete results and agreements in the framework of the visit to Ukraine of Minister of Economics and Technology of Germany Michael Glos who will be accompanied, as far as we know, by big delegation of German businessmen.

I strongly believe in successful cooperation of Ukraine and BRD and invite you to Ukraine.

From my part, as Prime Minister of Ukraine I am ready to support every new idea, efficient program, every investment project.