It seems I am forever writing about poor policy decisions, existing operating cycles that are cancerous to society requiring imagination and creativity to break and reform (which is sadly lacking), effective policies ineffectively applied or rallied against and obstructed by those they effect within the administrative organs of State, and the occasional completely counterproductive policy for good measure.
Of course whilst I write specifically about Ukraine, there are others just like me writing the same things about the UK, USA, France, the EU and many other nations and entities bemoaning all the above as well, often more impassioned and occasionally with a jerking knee and name-calling.
The issue with policy is just how long do you give it to be effective?
Some policies have an immediate effect, others take time to take effect and some are simply ineffective and were always doomed to be so.
Yet others are set for the very long term and are a drip, drip corrosive instrument and purposely designed to be so without making any headlines at all.
There are then other policies which begin as effective or are perceived to be so, displaying the initial desired results but then as time goes by prove to actually be ineffective.
There are grand overarching long term, holy grail policies and there are probably the very worst of all policies, knee-jerk, short term populist policies.
Anyway, one of the EU policies towards the EaP nations of which Ukraine is probably the most important, was to engage with, and directly finance platforms for, NGOs more actively. I mentioned a speech of Stefan Fule back in December, but here it is again to refresh your memories.
There are of course issues with NGOs as far as governments are concerned. Firstly they must be registered and operating legally in any nation where they are active.
There is a question of funding, who is funding them and to what more opaque ends than some would declare.
There are numerous examples of Arabic and Islamic NGOs and charities throughout the West having their official status removed and no doubt MI5, the FBI etc paying particular attention to them during the past decade. The same can be said for CND, Animal Rights and numerous other organisations to which certain government agencies (or government themselves) begin to have serious concerns over.
Harassment, agent provocateurs, deep cover law enforcement espionage within such organisations is not only the preserve of the FSB, SBU or KGB. Trials were falling apart only last year in the UK over such matters.
Undoubtedly as far as the EU (or its Member States) is concerned, it is far better to engage openly and with NGOs in country with the hosting government’s knowledge, than to have to use NGOs and businesses, Embassies and Consulates for more clandestine meetings or third party contacts with dissidents who are particularly out of favour with a particular government.
As such, the EU has been quietly but openly pushing Ukraine to amend certain laws relating to NGOs that operate within Ukraine which would ease the EU’s EaP strategy. It has been pushing this issue quietly for quite some time. Now I don’t always agree with Mr Fule, however I do have respect for him and I do consider him to be a very determined, clever and quite dynamic operator.
A recent disagreement between us came on 23rd February, when Mr Fule had this to say to me ” If I may, the point about looking at these issues from a geopolitical angle is not really helpful, because our version of regional integration is seen as opening up multilateral links and not closing them down…” - However I wasn’t looking at the issue discussed from a geopolitical angle, but pointing out that there were those in the RADA that were – unhelpful or not.
Anyway, one assumes, given that NGOs/Civil Society are now the EU’s preferred policy partners for promoting democracy (rather than dysfunctional opposition parties) within the EaP nations, that Mr Fule must be reasonably happy with himself (and Ukraine) as it seems he has managed to get changes to the law he sought.
“@StefanFuleEU – Good news from#Kiev:parliament adopted Law on Public Organisations.Important for civil society as our key partner in #neighbourhood policy”
Unfortunately I am going to have to take Mr Fule’s word that it is good news. I can’t find the new law (at least not yet) to see what it now states.
Still, it’s not always bad news.