International Centre for Policy Studies | phrase meta description phrase meta description Amanda Paul about unpredictable Ukraine and optimistic EU in KyivPost Commentaries Tue, 28 May 2013 15:29:59 +0300 ICPS forecast is for Ukraines economy to stagnate ICPS Newsletter Thu, 25 Apr 2013 15:07:38 +0300 Volodymyr Panchenko: Financial Investigation Service could become a new NKVD (rus.) Commentaries Fri, 19 Apr 2013 15:03:49 +0300 Ukraine: At the crossroads between the Yeliseyev Deli and the Elysian Agreement ICPS Newsletter Thu, 11 Apr 2013 15:00:53 +0300 Volodymyr Panchenko: "Ukraine: At the crossroads between the Yeliseyev Deli and the Elysian Agreement" News Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:34:46 +0300 At first glance, the diplomatic reception organized at the Mystetskiy Arsenal or Art Arsenal in Kyiv January 22, 2013, by the Embassies of Germany and France seemed unexceptional. Speeches by ambassadors, a great performance by a local a cappella group known as ManSound, German beer and French wine, oppositions MPs in one room with MPs from the ruling party rubbing rather than drubbing elbows, diplomatic smiles on their faces. But there were some unusual details. During their welcoming speeches, the German Ambassador spoke in French, while the French Ambassador spoke in German. Not only that, but to an untrained Ukrainian ear, their accents were excellent. Next to me, a couple of politicians turned to each other and said: Now if Putin were so speak in Ukrainian at a Ukrainian-Russian reception, while Yanukovych responded in Russianthat would be a real sensation! Read more (ukr.) Economist Oleksandr Zholud says that if the price of gasoline rises, the cost of a trip by bus from Kyiv to Odesa will go from its current UAH 170 to UAH 190-195 Commentaries Tue, 9 Apr 2013 14:16:10 +0300 Very few companies in Ukraine are prepared to invest in upgrading, says Oleksandr Zholud Commentaries Mon, 8 Apr 2013 17:02:04 +0300 Volodymyr Panchenko: "Ukraine: At the crossroads between the Yeliseyev Deli and the Elysian Agreement" (ukr.) Commentaries Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:03:41 +0200 Volodymyr Panchenko Is New ICPS Director ICPS Newsletter Thu, 28 Mar 2013 14:55:28 +0200 Kwasniewski: Year 2013 to be historical one in Ukraine-EU relations Commentaries Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:32:29 +0200 Lidia Wolanskyj: "Those grey people have blossomed" Commentaries Fri, 15 Mar 2013 13:38:49 +0200 Ukraine at the Edge of Energy Poverty: How to protect vulnerable social groups? ICPS Newsletter Thu, 14 Mar 2013 15:52:17 +0200 Keeping savings in gold is not useful to Ukrainians News Mon, 11 Mar 2013 11:31:34 +0200 Over the last year, demand for gold has fallen off across the world and its price has remained flat. The biggest gold holders have begun to reduce their reserves. Economists say this is due to the low level of inflation and gradual stabilization on financial markets, reports Obozrevatel . ICPS analyst Oleksandr Zholud discussed whether, given this situation, it makes sense for ordinary Ukrainians to keep their savings partly in gold. Mr. Zholud tied the issue of the price of gold to the price of metals, saying that the price of gold in Ukraine, which depends on prices on international markets, could change if additional taxes are imposed on precious metals. "Demand for gold is affected by investor fears regarding the future of the Euro and dollar," says Oleksandr Zholud. "Right now, inflationary expectations are low on the euro and dollar markets. So I would say that it's unlikely that the price of gold will rise, although it might fluctuate up to 15% if prospects for the future remain uncertain." Since gold is currently showing no signs of growing in price, the ICPS analyst says that it is not really an investment tool for the average Ukrainian family. "For most Ukrainian families, gold is not the main way to accumulate wealth, but it might suit some people," says Mr. Zholud. "Gold can, for instance, be held in the form of coins or ingots issued by the National Bank. But if you buy gold coins from the central bank, there is a very high commission charged, making their price higher than the real value of the gold in them, because the minting process itself costs a considerable amount. In short, it would be hard to say that this is a very convenient acquisition." Ukraine at the Edge of Energy Poverty: How to protect vulnerable social groups? News Thu, 7 Mar 2013 14:51:37 +0200 Presentation of a public policy brief on "Ukraine at the Edge of Energy Poverty: How to protect vulnerable social groups?" Reforming the gas and electricity markets in Ukraine is likely to have negative side-effects for ordinary consumers. Firstly, rates for these utilities will rise significantly for residential users. The privatization of power companies will also force greater discipline regarding payments for service and deadbeat customers are more likely to find themselves cut off. Under these circumstances, vulnerable consumers, such as pensioners, the handicapped, large families, risk finding themselves hit by energy poverty. At the same time, if these sectors are not reformed, then Ukrainian society as a whole will lose greatly because the quality of services and the infrastructure for their delivery will deteriorate for all consumers, across the board. This means that the liberalization of energy markets has to be accompanied by reforms to the social welfare system. The negative impact of price hikes on vulnerable consumers can be reduced and even eliminated altogether if the requirements of the Energy Communitys social programs are met. Once the categories of consumers who are eligible for assistance are revised and a Social Action Plan is drawn up, it will be possible to protect ordinary Ukrainians against energy poverty. However, the Government is currently delaying making changes to the social welfare system, which remains untargeted and ineffective. An ICPS study offers answers to such questions as: Which consumer groups are the most vulnerable to price hikes and likely to find themselves suffering energy poverty? What changes to social policies regarding the system of residential services subsidies, preferences, and so on are necessary? What timeframe for bringing utility rates up to their commercially viable levels is the most socially acceptable? ICPS has opened an online debate during the course of which ICPS analysts will provide answers to questions and comments from the public. This open forum will continue until April 1, 2013. If you want to offer your feedback on this document, write to us at or visit us on Facebook . : ? from ICPS What prevents the government from engaging society in the decision-making process? ICPS Newsletter Thu, 28 Feb 2013 15:48:14 +0200 ICPS is working to institute European standards of public consultations in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast News Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:43:19 +0200 The administration of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast has placed great emphasis on the issue of setting up a working mechanism to establish effective interaction between the local government and local citizenry. One successful mechanism for such effective interaction is the Public Platform for Land Reform in the Oblast. It was set up following methodology devised by the International Center for Policy Studies. Having used this approach, the Oblast next set up a Public Platform for Health Reform. On February 25, 2013, ICPS analysts, the Oblast leadership and members of the press discussed how the institutional capacity of government bodies in that oblast might be shored up so that they would be able to hold high-quality public consultations that meet European standards. Read more in Ukrainian . To protect the national interest from the negative impact of transnational corporations, state institutions must be strong News Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:10:26 +0200 Many global and regional transnational corporations (TNCs) operate in Ukraine today, such as KPMG, Cersanit, Cilkum, GfK, whose operations are primarily oriented on the local market. They mostly sell imported products or manufacture goods for the Ukrainian market. Relatively few companies make goods for export. Although the operations of such TNCs has a positive impact on consumers and workers, sometimes there are complaints on the part of the general public. () from ICPS Read more in Ukrainian . What prevents the government from engaging society in the decision-making process? News Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:51:27 +0200 Increasing the institutional capacity of government bodies and Csos is key to high-quality public consultations that are up to European standards. This is the conclusion drawn by participants in a recent roundtable on What prevents the government from engaging society in the decision-making process? organized by ICPS. Government officials and analysts from top think-tanks involved in democratic governance issues discussed possible approaches to instituting the practice of in line with is up to European standards. Read more in Ukrainian . Alexander Kwasniewski and Yuriy Yekhanurov approve ICPS action plan for 2013 News Wed, 20 Feb 2013 10:34:06 +0200 Yuriy Yekhanurov and Volodymyr Panchenko met with the Chair of the ICPS Supervisory Board, Alexander Kwasniewski during a working visit to Warsaw. Deputy Chair Yuriy Yekhanurov brought up the changes in the membership of the Supervisory Board and in the Centers general operations. Volodymyr Panchenko reported on the results of the ICPS Strategic Plan for 2012 and presented the Centers action plan for 2013. Mr. Kwasniewski gave high marks to the ICPS teams achievements and emphasized the importance of developing the Centers priorities for 2013-2015 in terms of Ukraines future: technical regulation, energy policy and economic research. He also noted the importance of establishing public consultations in Ukraine as an instrument for dialog between the government and civil society. The Supervisory Board Chair expressed interest in supporting ICPS in setting up a School for Reforms in Ukraine, suggesting a Polish partner for this projectthe Amicus Europae Foundation, which was founded on his initiative. Former President Kwasniewski also invited ICPS to support the development of international relations between Ukraine and Poland, in promoting the idea of a common Europe and in disseminating among ordinary Ukrainians knowledge of the European Union. This includes an understanding of the EUs neighborhood policies in Ukraine, supporting initiatives to shore up civil society and rule of law in the country, and propagating democratic values. Today, Amicus Europa and ICPS are working on a joint action plan to reach the goals of both organizations. Ildar Gazizullin: "A Closed Budget Is The First Sign Of Corruption In Ukraine" News Tue, 19 Feb 2013 11:57:30 +0200 The key question at a recent panel discussion was how to ensure that the use of public funds is transparent and controlled in Ukraine. The event was organized by the International Center for Policy Studies under the Open Budget project. Participants included Transparency International Ukraine President Oleksiy Khmara and International Center for Policy Studies Senior Analyst Ildar Gazizullin. The panel was moderated by Vitaliy Melnychuk, former deputy director of the Government Accountability Office of Ukraine (19972005). During the panel discussion, Vitaliy Melnychuk noted that nearly one third of Ukraines GDP is redistributed through the State Budget. Both the transparency and the efficiency of the way these funds get used are low. Moreover, voters have no information about the financial plans of state-owned corporations like Naftogaz Ukrainy, the oil and gas monopolist, or Ukrzaliznytsia, the state railway corporation. Oleksiy Khmara pointed out that Ukrainians all pay a very high corruption tax. Moreover, one of the most corrupt spheres of government activity is the state procurement system, because executive bodies provide very little access to information about the way that public funds are administrated while the legislature follows a highly opaque process of adopting the annual State Budget. Ildar Gazizullin was of the opinion that the ineffective and inefficient spending of public money has continued year after year in Ukraine. The first sign of corruption, he said, was a closed budget. Although the Government Accountability Office is sufficiently competent in revealing inappropriate practices and improper use of public funds, it lacks the necessary authority to ensure that executive bodies actually follow recommendations regarding greater transparency in the budget process in Ukraine. The panel discussion on "How to ensure that the use of funds is transparent and that its legality, purpose and effectiveness are controlled?" took place on February 14 . Note that, on January 23, the results of the Open Budget Index (OBI) for 2012 were published and Ukraine was 35th among 100 countries in the rating, having gained 54 points out of a possible 100. This indicator is slightly above the average of 43 for all countries in the survey, but is lower than all of Ukraines neighbors in the survey: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Slovakia. Moreover, it reflects a drop from 62 points in 2010, the last time the survey was run. Ukraines indicator shows that the Government only provides partial information about the plans and fulfillment of the State Budget during the course of the year. This makes it more difficult to hold the Government accountable for how it manages public funds.