Ukrainian and European experts support transformations in public administration


The new draft law regarding the Cabinet of Ministers and central government will help form an effective government based on new principles, experts said during the panel "Government that people trust. Building an effective government in Ukraine".

"The draft law will clearly define policy areas and the optimal number of ministries, reduce the number of government members and deputy ministers, and clearly define their functions," experts emphasize.

The draft law further puts an obligation on CMU members to streamline and coordinate not only their activities but also government communication by regularly reporting its activities to the society and following a common stance in public.

As noted by Ihor Koliushko, Chairman of the Management Board of the Center of Policy and Legal Reform, the goal of the reform is to make the Government politically accountable to the parliamentary majority and the President, but organizationally and operationally independent in pursuing its mission of working for the people, preemptively addressing any problems and responding to challenges, facilitating the country's successful development and an improved quality of life for its citizens. 

"As suggested by international experience, a well-performing, well-aligned, and accountable government that continuously works with the Parliament is much more important and effective than the number of ministries and ministers," stressed Ivan Khilobok, Head of the Public Administration Reform Group at the CMU Reform Delivery Office. 

According to Ugis Sics, the Project Manager of EU's project EU4PAR, the existing public mechanism is able to implement 50% approved plans at best.

"Though government meetings make more than 4,000 decisions a year, the government authors only about 30% of the country's enacted legislative acts compared with the European practice, where 70–90% laws proposed by the government are enacted. Besides, as little as about 33% of Ukrainian businesses regard legislative initiatives as adequately written, non-conflicting, and not modified too often. So, a lot of effort has to be made for the Government to improve its performance and Ukraine to come closer to EU standards," he emphasized.

Ugis Sics added that EU member governments are able to generate so many legislative initiatives because they have many more analytical resources and effective procedures in the government.

"The use of a wider set of analytical tools and mechanisms of open consultations produces better quality legislative solutions. For this reason, most EU parliaments rely on their Governments' capacity for drafting laws. Based on this practice, it is the Cabinet of Ministers that should become the lawmaking center, develop high-quality policies and decisions by using all resources available to it," he said.

In turn, Gregor Virant, who is the EU4PAR key expert and Slovenia's former Minister of Public Administration, stressed that most European models are based on similar fundamental principles.

"Most relevant recommendations for Ukraine that are based on the experience of EU member countries are a strong role of the Prime Minister; the CMU Secretariat chaired by a CMU member as a strong center of the Government; maximum three Vice Prime Ministers with clearly defined authority; a simplified system of ministry reorganization and liquidation, a reduction to 14 or 15 ministries; a clear allocation of responsibility and competence areas of the Government and an individual CMU member responsible for horizontal matters (public service, e-Government, administrative services) and one for coordinating EU integration. All of this is covered by the new draft law on CMU and central government agencies. The new CMU law is needed as soon as possible to build the new Government's capacity," said Gregor Virant.

In conclusion, Ihor Koliushko noted that it would be especially important for the meaningfully new governance system to be in the focus of politicians who will be forming the new government. Unity, trust, and respect for the rule of law are even more vital.

"It is excess concentration and centralization of authority, an unlawful manner of operation that may become the most bitter enemies of an effective public policy and, as a result, undermine the voters' expectations of the country's faster development," he emphasized. 

Reference: the event was organized by EU4PAR (Support to Comprehensive Reform of Public Administration in Ukraine) together with the non-governmental union "Coalition of the Reanimation Package of Reforms", the Center of Policy and Legal Reform, and the CMU Reform Delivery Office.

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