Opening address by Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the 12th YES Annual Meeting

Opening address by Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the 12th YES Annual Meeting

18:41, 12 September 2015

What happened in the last year? First of all, we had free and fair elections. And a new Government was formed. I want particularly focus on the new Government. This is an entirely new Government in the history of Ukraine, and not only due to the fact that this is an English-speaking Government, except Ukrainian and another languages, this is a new type of mentality, a new type of vision and a new type of responsibility.

First of all, I will praise my team, my Government and the reform agenda that was imposed and undertaken by this Government.

The second issue is that we formed a coalition. Politics is a quite specific thing, so it’s really important to maintain the coalition, to have a political will and to have political strength to pass reforms. Our coalition consisted of five parties. One party left, so we have only four parties. Fragility of the political coalition is an impressive block on our reform agenda.

We still managed to pass very tough, one can say, unpopular, but I will say necessary reforms on this country. No previous Government in the last 20 years never did this kind of job as this Government already made.

When I decided to take together with my coalition members and with my party the office of the Prime Minister for the second time, I was entirely sure what kind of outcomes I am to face as a politician. And there was a choice. On the one hand, every politician wants to have a high approval rate, if you want to get a high approval rate in the long-term strategy, frankly speaking, you have to be populistic, look we are to deliver everything to everyone. If you want to get a high approval rating for your country, which is my personal aim, and the aim of every member of my Government, you must undertake bold, wise, strong, sometimes unpopular, but definitely necessary decisions in the future.

And this Government passed a number of these decisions: in the energy sector, in the social sector, maintaining and fixing the budget gap, providing a new type of tax policy, building up new Ukrainian army and National Guard, tackling corruption, deregulating Ukrainian economy, imposing good governance in state-owned enterprises. We are doing step by step.

We do understand that we’ve done a lot, but we have to make much more. If I say “we” – it means not only the Government, it means everyone, everyone in the country.

We managed to retain political unity with the President, which never happened before in the Ukrainian history under the new-old Constitution of 2004. This is not just a cohabitation, this is a real, strong cooperation between two institutions.

We believe that Ukrainian coalition is to support reform agenda. The key issue in this reform agenda is that the only ally and the strongest ally the Government is to have – this is the Ukrainian people. That’s the reason why we need to support the Ukrainian people and to deliver tangible and real results. Similar as we did with the police reform, similar as the Government passed a new bill over social wages and pension increase, similar as we passed in terms of deregulation. So people need to get some kind of deliverables. It’s up to the Government to provide Ukrainian people with the results.

I believe that this is very bumpy, because this is the most comprehensive and challenging reform agenda after the reunification of Germany even. We are facing tremendous challenges and we as one Ukrainian nation have together to address all these challenges and to move forward.

We believe that we are on the right track, but we do understand that the number of troubles we are facing and that we have to do more every day. If one believes that you can get a blue ribbon or medal of honours for making your job as a Prime Minister or as a Minister – that is not true. We’ve already got our blue ribbons, having the office of the Prime Minister the office of a Ministers. For today, we have to save our country, that’s our obligation. And not to think just about only today, but to build up the future for this country. This is our joint goal.