Speech at the international Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen

Thank you, Denmark, for hosting us today. Norway is a committed friend of Ukraine. We stand by you both politically and economically. Our support package over the last 5 years amounts to more than 100 million euros. We are encouraged by the number of reforms undertaken during the past year – even under very challenging circumstances.

I would like to emphasise the energy reforms as a “driver for change”. Not only in curbing corruption, but also in the overall recovery of the economy. Today the energy sector has become a crucial driver of growth. 

Substantial investments within renewable energy, including solar plants and wind, look promising. Norway will continue our support to energy efficiency and reforms, including our dialogue with Naftogaz on corporate governance through the assistance from OECD. We are looking into ways of broadening this support.  

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Norway wants to build a strong partnership with Ukraine. I am happy to say that Ukraine’s reform efforts over the past year are clearly attracting interest and investments by Norwegian business partners. 

We would like to see more trade and investment both ways. 

Structural reform is no easy task. Even in the best of times, it requires difficult and costly political decisions.

Successful foreign investment is an important driver for change. A rewarding business environment is based on trust. In order to realise the potential for increased business cooperation, we need to see the Ukrainian business environment become more predictable and competitive. This in turn depends on a trustworthy and efficient legal system. 

I welcome the recent decision by the Verkhovna Rada on the anti-corruption court. It must be implemented as soon as possible and be able to work efficiently and independently. Let me stress the importance of a truly independent anti-corruption court also as a catalyst for private investment. The importance of promoting transparency and zero tolerance for corruption can never be overestimated.

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Ukraine is entering a very decisive year. In Norway we stand by our friends. This means we also speak up when we find it necessary. 

Let me therefore conclude by saying that even though Ukraine is in a preelection mode, our expectations of effective reforms remain high. Bearing that in mind, we confirm our continued support. We stand by Ukraine, its elected politicians, civil society and its people. Together you are the drivers for change.

Thank you.