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Ukrainian authorities stand with monopolists?



The lack of a coherent unified state policy strategy in the government leads to permanent conflicts and threatens the deterioration of relations between Ukraine and its Western partners. The discrepancy is evident in many mutually exclusive things. For example, this concerns the issues of privatization or building a sustainable economic model that will make it possible for Ukraine to become not just a democratic country, but also to have a strong economy, to pay off loans and to sustainably reform certain areas of government policy.

Privatization of state property is a common process of transition from a socialist to a capitalist system. Ukraine, which has been an independent state for more than 29 years, still retains the carryover of the socialist system. At the same time, certain periods of privatization did take place in Ukraine. That notwithstanding, immediately after the proclamation of independence, persons close to the then government and having certain benefits privatized part of the enterprises, therefore, the attitude of society to this process is ambiguous. Some people still prefers the State to keep everything in its possession.

Nevertheless, Volodymyr Zelensky, when running in the elections, spoke about privatization and the need to transfer state property to private hands. Indeed, large-scale privatization was began in 2020, which stopped after the pandemic.

Ukraine temporarily suspended large-scale privatization for 2020, - Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the State Property Fund, wrote in March.

"In the context of global economic turbulence caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, at this point we are taking a decision to refrain from putting large privatization objects and state-owned enterprises up for privatization auctions until the situation on the financial markets stabilizes," said Sennychenko.

After the statement the president said that privatization would be resumed after the pandemic.

There are a number of strategic enterprises that are also scheduled for privatization, although the attitude to privatization is ambiguous. For example, the attitude to the privatization of the state postal operator Ukrposhta is also not stable, but the management of Ukrposhta is doing everything to encourage the authorities to privatize the facility. The processes taking place in Ukrposhta in an attempt to monopolize international postal exchange and obtain the exclusive right to send international postal items through the points of international postal exchange indicate that the company ignores all the rules of anti-trust legislation.

All this is looks like a return to the old order, and this practice exists in some countries, such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. However, for Ukraine, which has set a course for integration with the European Union, it would be expedient to pursue state policy according to the standards of a market economy, without artificial monopolies. The European Union market is liberalized, so there can be no monopolies. At the same time, the quality of services at Ukrposhta can not be called exemplary, however, they are trying to take over certain segments of delivery services to avoid any competition with companies that could provide better service.

The head of JSC "Ukrposhta" is Igor Smilyansky, who, according to some media, has repeatedly been involved, in scams, and, moreover, receives a higher salary than the US president. What is more, this situation is more negative for the government in Ukraine, as such management, first of all, harms the reputation of the President and affects his approval rating, which is far from being the highest for his entire term.

Competition, as an unconditional attribute of market relations, contributes to the improvement of service and services, as any monopoly is only aimed at profit, without taking into account the views of the consumers of services.

The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine must state its clear position and do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine does not roll back to the elements of a planned economy. A legislative initiative by individual "Servants of the People" and which is intended to create privileges for Ukrposhta, should be reviewed, and this situation should be an example of how dishonest managers and individual government officials try to take advantage of advantage of power and influence the market mechanisms of the economy for their own benefits.

At the same time, private postal operators of Ukraine have unequivocally expressed their position on preventing such a scenario, and the authorities should pay attention to this. Ukrainian business creates jobs, fills the budget and helps improve the level of service, but if the State starts turning away from employers, it will be a signal for businesses and citizens to leave Ukraine.

There is hope for justice, for example, the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, which has a positive reputation in the European Union, as it has been cooperating with the West for many years and does not support such initiatives. A similar position is upheld by the State Customs Service, which is successfully carrying out the reform and Ukraine's Western partners are noting progress in this direction.

Today everything depends on the extent, to which the President and the Parliament allow the cultivation of a monopoly in JSC "Ukrposhta" and whether they ignore the market rules and the standpoint of employers and taxpayers. Ukrainian political establishment is now preparing for the local elections to be held on October 25, taking into account the opinion of citizens and making changes based on their viewpoint rather than that of individual deputies who pursue individual interests.


Sustainable transport: EU funds clean buses, electric charging infrastructure and more in France, Germany, Italy and Spain



Following the EU's investment of €2.2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the green recovery, as announced in July, the EU is contributing additional €54 million to five projects that aim at delivering safer and greener transport services. Among the selection are projects deploying cleaner busses with charging infrastructure in Paris and Barcelona. The projects also involve constructing 255 new electric charging stations on Italian roads, and installing ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System on 238 rail vehicles in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

The projects will be supported through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU's financial mechanism supporting transport infrastructure, and further contribute to decarbonizing transport as set out in the European Green Deal. These projects were selected through the CEF Blending Facility, which allows the leveraging of additional private financing for the projects, in addition to the EU's support. In total, CEF has now supported 932 projects, with €23.1bn in total. You can find more details on today's five new selected projects here.

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Security Union: EU law on combatting terrorism led to stronger criminal justice rules against terrorism and more rights for victims



On 30 October, the Commission adopted a report assessing the measures that member states have taken to comply with the EU rules on combating terrorism (Directive 2017/541). This Directive is the main criminal justice instrument at EU level to counter terrorism. It sets minimum standards for defining terrorist and terrorism-related offences and for sanctions, while also giving victims of terrorism rights to protection, support and assistance.

The report concludes that the transposition of the Directive into national law helped strengthen member states' criminal justice approach to terrorism and the rights afforded to victims of terrorism. While the measures taken by member states to comply with the Directive are overall satisfactory, there are however gaps that are a cause for concern.

For example, not all member states criminalize in their national law all the offences listed in the Directive as terrorist offences. In addition, there are deficiencies in the measures that member states have taken to criminalize travel for terrorism purposes and the financing of terrorism, as well as to support victims.

The Commission will continue to support member states in working towards full and correct transposition of the Directive. Where necessary, the Commission will make use of its powers under the Treaties through infringement procedures. The report will now be presented to the European Parliament and the Council.

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European Union joins world leaders in committing to reverse nature loss by 2030 at UN Biodiversity Summit



On 30 September, President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) represented the EU at the UN Biodiversity Summit in New York which brings together world leaders to step up global actions for nature and confirm their determination in agreeing a new ambitious global biodiversity framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, planned for 2021.

Prior to the summit, President von der Leyen, together with more than 70 heads of state and government endorsed the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, committing to ten decisive actions to address the nature emergency. The President pledged to put nature and the climate at the heart of the EU's recovery plan, committing to tackle the interdependent climate and biodiversity crisis, deforestation, ecosystem degradation and pollution, and move to sustainable production and consumption.

President von der Leyen said: “Nature helps us in the fight against climate change. But it is also our ally in securing prosperity, combating poverty, hunger and inequalities, and is essential to prevent future zoonotic pandemics. We need to act now and bring nature back into our lives. This is the moment for world leaders to join hands and the EU is ready to lead the way. The European Green Deal is our vision and roadmap. We call on all to join this collective effort to create a common movement of change, to make the recovery green and to protect and restore our planet - the only home we have.”

The EU Biodiversity Strategy adopted by the European Commission in May 2020 outlines an ambitious agenda for the EU internally, but also globally. It reaffirms the EU's determination to lead by example in tackling the global biodiversity crisis and in developing an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework at the 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference.

This includes overarching long-term goals for biodiversity so that by 2050 the world's ecosystems are restored, resilient, and adequately protected; ambitious global 2030 targets in line with the EU's proposed commitments; and improved means of implementation in areas such as finance, capacity, research, know-how and technology.

Ahead of the COP 15, the European Commission also launched the global coalition United for #Biodiversity, calling on all national parks, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, research centres, science and natural history museums, to join forces and raise their voice about the nature crisis.

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