He spoke categorically against the development of Ukrainian industry and backed up his words with serious threats. How did this happen and why did Ukraine suddenly care about the fate of its factories?
Euroassociation, coronavirus, Ukraine and its industry-these four topics were linked together at the end of last week. And associate them came from the Ambassador of the European Union Matti Maasikas, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhalou.
Sounds like a boring bureaucracy? Because it is a bureaucracy, but it is quite entertaining. Roughly like Bulgakov's: a session of Association with the EU with full disclosure.
Back in late may, the Ukrainian government set out to develop plans to support the Ukrainian economy. Even in the best years, it was stalling, and COVID-19 has completely undermined it: according to the latest forecast of the IMF, GDP will shrink by 8.2% this year.
We decided to support the economy of Ukraine using proven methods: increasing public procurement in the military-industrial complex, reducing port fees and tariffs for railway transportation. But the main thing is the support of Ukrainian engineering.
First, the compensation of the rate on loans for the purchase of Ukrainian-made equipment; second, the localization program, which was supposed to load Ukrainian factories with at least the simplest screwdriver Assembly. We decided to start with 15% localization in public procurement (and given the plans to update the rolling stock of UZ, this is billions of hryvnia). And already at the end of June, the government started talking about at least 35% of localization, with the goal of bringing it to 60% in the future. We are talking again about railway equipment, urban passenger transport and municipal special equipment, energy equipment. Only last year, the negative trade balance for these types of products reached UAH 311 billion. In other words, the government decided to reduce this figure by at least a third.
And just in response to these plans from the EU, there was a menacing shout. "In our view, this would be a significant violation of the aforementioned principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination." Experts admit that this streamlined wording of the Ambassador threatens to put on pause all lending programs for Ukraine from the EU: investment programs of the EBRD, macro-financial assistance from the EU in the amount of 1.2 billion euros, perhaps even Ukrainian "daughters" of European banking structures will be involved. However, nothing prevents you from putting pressure on other corns – the same visa-free regime. And it's useless to argue: Europe will refer to the Association Agreement
Of course, it can be changed. For example, in 2017, the EU gave Ukraine additional quotas for the supply of barley and corn (the government then estimated the effect at 100-150 million dollars of additional export revenue). But then such a proposal came from the EU itself. Even so, it took six months for the agreement to be finalized. And Ukrainian machine builders need orders now: "the rate of decline in machine building is twice faster than the overall decline in industry. For example, if in April the industry went into negative territory by 16%, then mechanical engineering-by almost 36%. Previously, the main market for our machine building was Russia and the CIS countries. They were lost, and alternative markets have not been mastered, " - economist Viktor Skarshevsky estimates the situation.
That is, Ukraine, of course, can fight with the European bureaucracy. But without guarantees of success. And the "bone" in the form of 5-7% localization, which will be abandoned in a couple of years, the Ukrainian industry will not save.
"And you don't have to save it," Lech Walesa will tell us from 2013. "God gave Ukraine such good soil so that it could feed the whole of Europe. We should tell Ukraine that it can produce all the grain for Europe – but not the machines. Machines can be produced in Poland." With this striking passage in an interview with Die Zeit (October 2013) Walesa gave a couple of unpleasant minutes to Euro-optimists. That and to speak-the politician skilled, threadbare. I managed to put the meaning of the 2000-page Association agreement into such a short phrase. Produce raw materials and take them to sell in Europe under the allocated quotas. And for this, remove any barriers to the import of finished products.
But with this question posed, the industry is facing difficult times? It doesn't matter, Alexander Kirsh, then adviser to Prime Minister Yatsenyuk on economic issues, gives a voice from 2015: "...industrial enterprises built in Soviet times and "flagships of industry" are a Russian noose around the neck of Ukraine. They need to be liquidated and sold off in order to get out of Moscow's influence." The precision of the wording is no worse than that of Walesa.
With the sale, however, it did not work out particularly. Recall that since 2015, Ukraine has consistently failed all plans to privatize the remaining state-owned flagships of the industry. Europe, with rare exceptions, does not need them. And Russian businesses are legally prohibited from participating in privatization.
By the way, Walesa knew what he was saying. In the second half of the 2000s, Poland had its own drama: the EU demanded that the Gdansk shipyards return a subsidy issued by the Polish government in violation of EU regulations. So the poles have learned their place in the European distribution of labor: cars can be used, ships can no longer be used.
In General, the attitude to industry in Ukraine is not easy. On the one hand, no President has ever refused to visit a factory with mandatory photography against the backdrop of industrial landscapes. A separate and great love of Ukrainian politicians – some major OGO-go. The plane "Mriya", the carrier rocket "Zenit-3SL". Zelensky's team during the epidemic drove the "Mriya" for masks to China, and the President's PR specialists wrote insightful materials about the world's most powerful Ukrainian (!!) plane.
Every year, cosmonautics Day in Ukraine is held under the mantra " and Korolev is a Ukrainian!". Like Sikorsky, of course, although he (a monarchist, honorary member of the Patriotic youth society "two-Headed eagle") is even less suitable for this role than the Queen. But the General desire is clear: even an agrarian superpower is flattered to have an industry.
One trouble: flattery ends everything. They blew off the dust, became proud, and put it in a corner until the next time. Any Ukrainian politician strives to exist without intersecting with industry and its interests. Beat the pots with Russia, and the entire industrial East had sales markets there? Well, to hell with them, with these flagships of the industry, this is a Russian stranglehold.
It is necessary to remember it in especially crisis years and on the eve of elections. Especially if politicians have few sympathizers in the Western regions (there are enough fables about the army, the mova, and the faith) and you have to bet on the Central and Eastern regions. And here it turns out that the predecessors signed such a cabal that at least immediately hang yourself. I wish I could use a garrote.