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Yatseniuk: Opening statement, Government's session 5/3/14

Opening statement by Prime Minister of Ukraine Arsenii Yatseniuk during the Government's session on March 5, 2014


05.03.2014 | 14:07
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION OF THE SECRETARIAT OF THE CMU

Respected members of the Cabinet of Ministers, heads of regional state administration I welcome all of you! It is our first joint session.

Traditions of introduction when Prime and Deputy Prime Ministers used to spent millions to fly to regions and introduce heads of administrations, we’ve left in the past. I consider that we must immediately get down to work.

First of all I’d like to congratulate all heads of regional state administrations; great responsibility lies on new Government and on those who bear the responsibility to the Ukrainians in the regions. Your actions should meet the expectations of millions people who have been on Maidan, the expectations of millions of fairness and dignity that we should restore in the country.

I’d like to start from general political and economic issues.

There is extraordinary meeting of heads of states of the EU tomorrow, and I’ve received an invitation to the meeting. The U.S. Secretary of State announced yesterday on the first package of economic aid that Ukrainian will receive and I hope that as soon as possible - today and tomorrow - our European partners will also announce an economic package of financial assistance to Ukraine.

The situation is very difficult concerning state finances and those possibilities, which we get due to economic and financial aid package from U.S., the EU and the IMF, will enable us to stabilize the economic situation.

Of course, the Russian military aggression has both political, security and economic implications. And unmotivated presence of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine has a very negative effect, especially on the Ukrainian economy.

Therefore, once again we call on the Russian leadership to immediately withdraw troops and perform bilateral and multilateral agreements.

What’s happening in Crimea threatens not only the national security of Ukraine, but also the whole world. And only Russia is responsible for these actions.

The Russian leadership has and will have no grounds for military aggression on the territory of Ukraine. Any false grounds, including expressed by the Russian leadership yesterday, have no foundation.

I recall recent events in the Parliament concerning the so-called language law. Despite the fact that this is a particularly sensitive issue for most Ukrainians, but this is an issue that divides us, and it was absolutely right decision - not to sign the law “On the Repeal of the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of State Language Policy” and leave it in the current version in order the east of Ukraine was calm. All have spoken in Russian and will continue speak. And there is no reason to split Ukraine and never will be – it is a position of the new Ukrainian government.

Concerning state administration. The challenges that stand before heads of regional state administrations - are actually the restoring of the state administration and the governance.

We’ve got the state with an empty treasury, totally corrupt system of state authorities, starting from the top to the bottom, lack of law enforcement and security system, corrupt courts. And now people will expect fast, accurate changes. And the heads of regional state administrations have hard, quickly and efficiently set an order, first of all in the system of state authorities.

I address to all heads of regional state administrations to urgently propose candidates on the posts of district state administrations, and on the posts of your deputies. To assign urgently people, but I stress those people, that then they would not been caught by prosecutors together with militia for those crimes which the previous officials have committed. The staff selection is the direct responsibility of the head of each Regional State Administration. You have two weeks to complete the formation of the structure of the regional authority.

I would also like to address to the heads of RSAs asking for smoothly cooperation with local councils. The task of new Government of Ukraine is the decentralization of power. And Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman will be responsible for rapid reform package on local governance.

Today we realize that one of the key elements should be made by new Ukrainian government: it is the dismantling of the centralized government that was formed in last 4 years. Rights should be given to the regions. People have elected regional councils, district councils and these regional and district councils should have adequate powers.

I ask every head of the region, first of all, to study the situation in the region quickly: what is happening with the law enforcement system, what debts for consumed energy recourses, social payments we have, how taxes are imposed, you should meet with representatives of small and medium business that was under constant harassment, cooperate with people, go to the people and listen to people - and not just listen, but respond to their requests.

The situation in Crimea is extremely difficult, but I want to point out that the Ukrainian government is fulfilling its obligations to the autonomy. In last two days we’ve listed to Crimea UAH 60 million to meat social and other charges. Ukrainian Government has met commitments and will continue to meet all social commitments to Ukrainians living in the Crimea.

Despite the great debt of the autonomy for the consumed energy recourses, we provide energy supplies to the territory of the autonomy. We provide livelihood of the autonomy, despite the Russian military aggression in the Crimea.

Of course, there will be difficulties this year, because I think that actually there will not be the holiday season after that, when Russian tanks and Russian soldiers have appeared on the territory of Ukraine, namely in the Crimea. And if there is not the holiday season - there will not be additional revenues. And, so, the Government has to think now, Mr. Shlapak, I ask you, you should adjust the revenues of the autonomy, we will have to help them and increase the volume of donations in order to keep the social situation in the Crimea.

Yesterday I spoke to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the Minister of Finance to immediately prepare draft resolutions on assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On behalf of the Government of Ukraine let me express my highest gratitude to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Naval Forces of Ukraine, located in the Crimea. These are people who have sworn to the people of Ukraine and made the oath. And the fact that Ukrainian Armed Forces did not give the aggressors, is evidence of a high patriotic spirit, national pride, which is now in Ukraine.

Yesterday I ordered the Minister of Defense of Ukraine and the Minister of Finance to immediately prepare draft resolutions on assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On behalf of the Government of Ukraine let me express my highest gratitude to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Naval Forces of Ukraine located in the Crimea. These are people who have sworn to the people of Ukraine and done their duties. And the fact that Ukrainian Armed Forces did not capitulate is the evidence of a high patriotic spirit, national pride, which Ukrainians have.

So, we will made decisions today on additional financial assistance and additional benefits for members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I ask immediately after the adoption of the decision to finance these expenditures. Despite the fact that the treasury is empty, the Government of Ukraine will do everything to heroes that they feel that Ukrainian state honors, respects and cares about them.

Also I’d like to raise the issue at the selector on preparations for the sowing season. Dear colleagues, you know that one of the main segments of the Ukrainian economy is agriculture. We are losing time. I address to every head of RSA, primarily to Mr. Minister Shvaika to hold an emergency meeting with agricultural producers, exporters and suppliers of fuels and lubricants. The preparation for sowing campaign is a task number one. This is the issue of food security, the issue of additional revenues to the state budget and Ukraine's reputation as one of the major exporters of grain and agricultural producer in Europe.

So, colleagues, we have no time. We took responsibility - now we have to bear this responsibility and take immediate, rapid and effective steps to ensure that there will be true and real changes in Ukraine.

I’d like to introduce all heads of RSAs the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development Volodymyr Groysman, he will be responsible for regional policy. The main task, what he is responsible is a decentralization of power in the country. We promise this and we will carry out our program.

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