Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced on February 13 about establishment of International Advisory Council on Reforms and appointed Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili as its head.
The council is “a consultative body” tasked to elaborate “proposals and recommendations on the implementation of reforms in Ukraine taking into account the best international experience,” Ukrainian President’s office said, adding that the council, which will be made up of foreign experts, will work on “the reformation of the Ukrainian legislation and increase the level of international support to Ukraine.”
“We’ve been thinking for a long time how to use the knowledge, experience and unique know-how of Mikheil Saakashvili in the best possible way,” President Poroshenko said. “In Georgia, he managed to implement reforms actually in all spheres of economic, political and social life.”
“Until recently, Mikheil was in fact a freelance consultant of Ukraine in reforms and now, at last, he gets the official status,” the Ukrainian President said.
Also on February 13 the Ukrainian President signed a decree appointing Saakashvili as his “adviser (non-staff member)”.
Saakashvili is wanted by the Georgian authorities on multiple criminal charges, which he denies as politically motivated. Officials in Tbilisi have said previously that appointment of persons wanted by Tbilisi on official posts in Ukraine would harm bilateral relations.
Several former Georgian officials are already holding senior government posts in Ukraine. Georgia’s ex-healthcare minister Alexander Kvitashvili took the same post in Ukraine and ex-deputy interior minister Eka Zguladze was appointed as Ukraine’s deputy interior minister. Gia Getsadze, who served on various high-ranking positions in Saakashvili’s administration till mid-2005, was appointed Ukraine’s deputy justice minister. Three other former Georgian officials have also joined the Ukrainian justice ministry.
Davit Sakvarelidze, a Georgian lawmaker from opposition UNM party chaired by Saakashvili, has applied for the post of head of Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau. Sakvarelidze, who was deputy chief prosecutor of Georgia in 2010-2012, is among 161 candidates seeking post of head of the anti-corruption bureau.
According to the Ukrainian president’s office newly established International Advisory Council on Reforms will be in close coordination with the National Council of Reforms, which was formed last year.
Co-head of the National Council of Reforms, Dmytro Shymkiv, who is also deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, said that “many international experts and prominent figures assist Ukraine” and the International Advisory Council on Reforms will help to arrange and better organize these efforts.
“We guarantee that we will listen to all the proposals of the Council,” Shymkiv said.