Victor Yushchenko opened presidential hearings, The Challenges Born by Freedom, at the Ukraine House, the President's press office reported.

The President urged those present to actively discuss challenges facing Ukraine.

“Only face-to-face repeated discussions and dozens of roundtables can help us understand who we are and what policies we should implement,” he said.

The Head of State stressed that “such discussions should be focused on an individual,” while we should understand how to “defend our interests and positions in domestic and foreign policy, eventually developing proper tactics of a victorious country.”

Yushchenko thinks freedom, which Ukrainians gained a year ago during the Orange Revolution, set a number of questions that can only be answered through consolidated cooperation between “government and society.”

“We will do it, but look around to see how many undisputed and controversial challenges we are faced with. They concern our history, integration, religious relations, defense security, etc.,” he said.

One of such long-expected debates is genocide famine, he added.

Speaking about other tasks of the country, the President stressed that it was necessary to repeal regulatory acts impeding the development of our market.

“Without doing that we can speak about our favorable investment climate for hours, but no serious investor will come here,” he said.

Commenting on measures we were trying to adopt to fight corruption, the Head of State reiterated that the first phase was to “change faces in government.” Then we should “revise duties of an official.

Yushchenko added that artificial duties were “a foundation of corruption.” He reminded those present that the Verkhovna Rada had passed several bills to “change regulatory rules in Ukraine not to seduce officials.”

“The third stage to fight corruption is judicial reforms,” he said. “We will not open our market, we will not show our justice, we will not protect property without having fair courts,” Yushchenko emphasized.

The Head of State said he wanted salaries of state officials to be adequate to their status.

“We don’t need an official that earns UAH 600 and steals every day,” he noted and urged all not to abuse this topic before next year’s elections.

Speaking about Ukraine’s foreign policy, the President said it was necessary to develop trade-economic relations with Russia and the European Union. He also stressed that it was important to “honestly, frankly and publicly discuss” Ukraine’s cooperation with the NATO.

Then Yushchenko called on those present to discuss ways to develop science and education in Ukraine.


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