Rada should pass five bills to get another EUR 600 mln in EU macro-finance aid – Cabinet
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, should pass five important bills in the first quarter of 2016 to receive EUR 600 million in the second tranche of macro-financial assistance from the European Union, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine said.
The Ukrainian parliament should in particular complete the introduction of a new model of the gas market in Ukraine and pass respective government-prepared bills on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine for ensuring conditions of the natural gas market's operation (No.3325) and on amendments to the Customs Code of Ukraine on the creation of preconditions for a new model of the natural gas market (No. 3074), the press service of the government's office for European integration reported on Friday.
Lawmakers should also adopt a government-prepared bill that would strengthen the independence of the electricity market's regulator – a bill on the National Commission, which performs state regulations in the energy sector and public utilities (No.2966). What is more, it should pass a bill aimed at facilitation of competition, i.e. amendments to the Law of Ukraine on protection of economic competition with respect to increasing the effectiveness of controls on economic concentration (No. 2168-a).
In addition, the parliament should pass a government-prepared bill on self-government service (No.2489), which is part of public administration reform.
"Only three out of all these documents have been passed by parliament in first reading (amendments to Customs Code, the draft law on protection of economic competition and a bill on service in local government). Yet, Ukraine's adherence to international and bilateral trade commitments, namely to prevention of any new measures that restrict or distort trade, is an important criterion for the EU's macro-financial assistance. Namely it concerns the abolition of a temporary ban on timber and raw wood exports, which is not in line with WTO requirements (this is stipulated in law No. 325-VIII)," the government's office for European integration said.
Deputy Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers and Director of the government's office for European integration Natalia Hnydiuk said that the memorandum under which Ukraine is given the EU's macro-financial assistance provides for a number of binding conditions that accelerate internal reforms in Ukraine and facilitate the process of European integration.
"It is also extremely important to remove trade restrictions that are contrary to Ukraine's obligations, namely those concerning the WTO and free trade zone with the EU. Furthermore, Ukraine should refrain from any attempts to introduce such limitations in future, as our country has signed relevant international agreements and should implement them on a regular basis," she added.
On May 22, 2015, Ukraine and the EU signed a memorandum on macro-financial assistance under which Ukraine will get EUR 1.8 billion, split in three tranches. The first tranche arrived in 2015.