President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych chaired a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to discuss a number of important state issues, risks and threats to the country in the near and distant future.
"There are always many questions in the area of national security, and at first glance each of them appears the most important compared to the rest.
In almost 20 years of independence, numerous books were written about security, dozens of decisions made, yet the situation is not getting better. Therefore we should discuss not security in general, but security of national development in the face of problems and threats of the next year 2011.
It is clear to me that reforming the army and the whole security sector is not possible in the conditions of crisis of power. Radical changes in the economy are impossible without social stability and people's confidence in their own country. Foreign political support is impossible without the consistency and uniformity of policy of all the branches of government.
Let us honestly ask ourselves one simple question: On what do really depend stability and prospects of development of our state? What is most important?
I strongly believe the most important today are: successful implementation of reforms and modernization of the country, effectiveness of the government in domestic and foreign policy, presence of long-term development strategy comprehensible to the society and supported by it, broad social base of state policy and maintaining stable public support for government’s actions, and preventing further political crises and revolutions.
All these tasks are priorities as they fight the most important of all threats to national security – the treat of crisis of people’s confidence in the government and the state.
In order to be a successful democracy, really secure from internal and external threats, we must become the nation that believes not only in itself, but in its leaders and authorities.
All the programs, policies and actions of the authorities must be aimed at restoring that trust and reestablishing confidence of people in their future, in new opportunities for themselves, their children and grandchildren.
We have talked about these five objectives many times. This is the content of my policy as President. They must become the foundation of national security policy.
Absence of any of those five components will lead to new failures and setbacks. I am sure of that. And it will also result in the inability to respond promptly to any specific threat, either economic, defense or ecological.
So, our main task for the next year 2011 is to conduct radical economic transformation, yet preserving social stability and building a precise like a clock mechanism of power.
What do we have now? We have provided political stability in the Parliament, although it is sometimes difficult to maintain. There is interaction between the President, Parliament and Cabinet. Together, we have developed the program of reforms, which has received support in the society at the last presidential and local elections. I am stating that confidently.
Therefore, our early anti-crisis measures have yielded positive results – growth has renewed and financial stability is maintained. We have won back the trust of international partners.
However, citizens expect us to make specific, well-calculated and successful further steps.
Inertia, bureaucracy and lawlessness, returning to administrative resources as the main means of management, delays of concrete changes may lead to new disappointments and decrease of trust in the government.
There is still credibility, but it becomes weaker with every month. Social tension is increasing. All that while painful changes in social-economic sphere are still ahead. And any step that we do, of course, will cause resistance of bureaucrats," President Yanukovych said opening the meeting.
The most important issue at present he called rapid modernization and comprehensive reforms. In particular, the threats posed by a new wave of global crisis must be taken into account. "Hard work, modernization, administrative reform, which is now ahead – we will start it soon – will give the opportunity and hope for positive economic results, and preserving social stability in our country based on it," he said.
"The economic situation in Ukraine largely depends on how the global crisis will develop. But we must not sit idly by. Although we are too vulnerable to influence of the crisis, I am not trying to scare anybody. I urge you to continue the action plan that we have launched in reforming our country and conducting effective anti-crisis policy.
We must simultaneously achieve two extremely difficult tasks – to implement reforms in order to ensure economic growth and to minimize the impact of new crisis processes in the global financial system on Ukraine.
And there can be no romantic expectations. We must be very pragmatic in dealing with national security issues. Without exaggeration, on that depends the fate of our country.
I am ready for serious talks with the global centers of influence regarding the protection and promotion of our national interests.
As Head of State, I will do everything to ensure that Ukraine lasts through this period with minimal losses.
I would like all to show understanding to our pragmatic policy. And certainly, we are interested in the society being well aware of our every step.
So I now demand our so to speak ideological bloc, which deals with information policy, to provide the society with more information on what we do, why we do that and what the results will be.
Today, when I hear the protests of various business representatives about the Tax Code, I would like to ask them: do they want us to leave the gaps in legislation that allow avoiding taxes? We say it openly! Yes or no? Everybody must pay taxes. How large, is the question regulated by the Tax Code. But everybody must pay taxes.
There has to be an accounting in the country. Otherwise we will do nothing. It never happens that taxes are avoided and a state lives well. There are no such examples in the world! Therefore, we must certainly explain to people, why are we doing that.
Together, we all, the whole society, must give an answer to one question: do we want to have a corrupt state, do we want to continue maintaining corrupt bureaucracy, develop underground economy, and live on like that? We cannot live on like that. So I believe that most of the society wants us to finally bring order in the country in using whatever resources are available, and financial resources first of all. And we must take principled stance in this question. The Government, law enforcement authorities, we all together must bring order. So that finances were used effectively.
Who does impede or discredit our reformist movement today? Once again, I repeat: those who do not benefit from it, those who are accustomed to doing business on state budget. By the way, doing business on licenses, which are issued to businesses and entrepreneurs... Such cases are numerous and we can cite many examples here. So I would like to say that we should not stop at half a step.
So do present calls "to organizing the entrepreneurial sit-in" are coming from those who are used to work outside the law. This is no joke. Therefore we have a transparent process of adoption of the Tax Code today. And to everything we do, to all our further steps we will apply the mechanism of public hearings.
It is clear that there will always be differences, there will always be different views, but we must prevent appearance of the system, which would be ruled by selfishness of large or small business. The approach must be equal to everybody, and it should be really patriotic," President Yanukovych said.
Viktor Yanukovych stressed the importance of big business understanding its social responsibility: "Big business will always be responsible for national economic development and participation in various national projects and programs. And the government must demand that big business had a social responsibility."
"The next threat is low standards of living and the possibility of their further deterioration in the next year due to prices growth and deepening of crisis in healthcare, education, low standards in social protection.
This is a direct path to social tensions and development of epidemics of social and other dangerous illnesses.
We now face terrible statistics of HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and alcoholism spread. Social degradation has now reached alarming rate and the society will just not survive this in the future.
In this respect I have a very simple question to you: are people ready for the planned changes for 2011, which will not always be popular? We should talk about it. It is our duty, if we are to overcome the crisis," Viktor Yanukovych said.
Speaking about the importance of informing the public on real situation in the country, the President drew attention to the situation with pension reform.
"We must have clear, true information on actual situation in the country," Viktor Yanukovych said. He also suggested holding parliamentary hearings on the issue of pension reform.
"We must tell the truth. The situation in the country is indeed difficult and if we do not reform various areas of life, the country will not survive," he said.
"In both pension reform and public sector we must aim our efforts at the effective work. But it cannot be achieved under such a complex system of executive power today. Therefore, administrative reform is extremely overdue. And we will soon approach its consideration," the President said.
He noted that on his instruction to the Ministry of Justice, a working group to prepare administrative reform has been established. "We need to significantly reduce the staff, improve the work of executive power and remove the overlapping of functions," Viktor Yanukovych said.
The President also drew attention to the need to improve and optimize the work of NSDC.
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