Kees Klompenhouwer, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine
Three Turbulent Years Onwards
Since my appointment in the summer of 2013 a lot has happened in Ukraine.
Ukraine today is a different country from Ukraine back then. Ever since Euromaidan, the country has taken a more Western-oriented course in its development. The Netherlands wholeheartedly supports Ukraine’s decision to embrace the European values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.
The past years showed that to bring reforms about is an uphill battle. Even if there are critical remarks to make, I think Ukraine has also taken some important steps. One example in the battle against corruption is the established National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU). Also, few countries in the world can boast a same level of transparency of public officials’ incomes, that has been revealed through the e-declarations. The Netherlands is supportive of Ukraine’s reforms, because it will have a huge positive effect on both political and economic relations between Ukraine and the world.
In the past years our relations got more intertwined. After the dramatic incident of the downing of MH17 Ukraine has supported the Netherlands from the start. After two years of investigation the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) could finally present its findings to the public. The Embassy continues to support the JIT wherever it can in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Our Embassy remains active in following the political, economic and security situation, and the promotion of rule of law and democracy, including respect for human rights. The Netherlands is contributing to the OSCE Monitoring Mission (SMM) and to the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform (EUAM).
The Dutch government is committed to supporting Ukraine with contributions through the Matra Programme and Human Rights Fund. A critical, independent civil society is essential for a democratic society. The Netherlands has been successfully supporting civil society for more than 20 years. We will continue to promote capacity building of civil, political and journalistic organizations for essential “checks and balances” and to stimulate the reform agenda.
The Embassy will continue its efforts to represent the economic and trade interests of over 320 Dutch companies active in Ukraine and of Dutch companies considering access to the Ukrainian market. The Netherlands supports Ukraine with its implementation via multilateral cooperation (including EU, IMF, EBRD, EIB) and bilateral cooperation through practical reforms of the governmental services involved (including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Tax Services and Chambers of Commerce).
In September this year, we started the Dnipro Development Initiative (DDI) with the Ministry of Infrastructure. After centuries of battling and working with water, we earn 70 percent of our GDP below sea level. So we know water! Under the DDI umbrella we work together with the ministry and the International Financial Institutions to develop bankable project for investments in river transport of Ukraine.
This is my final year as ambassador to Ukraine and I have been very impressed with the resilience, inventiveness and determination of its people. I am sure this is in the end what will push this country forward. The Netherlands is and remains a partner in this effort.