Ukraine’s parliament on July 13 adopted pension reform legislation on its first reading.
While somewhat encouraging, it’s not enough to get the International Monetary Fund sign-off just yet — needed are the two final readings in the autumn.
It’s kind of the minimum that the Verkhovna Rada deputies could do to allow them to jet off on holiday as parliament goes into recess this week.
It is notable that Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said he would resign if he did not get pension reform signed off, so let’s see how President Petro Poroshenko wants to play this in an increasingly strained relationship. This could still be a political fight to come in the autumn in Kyiv.
And there is still no news on the status of gas price hikes which were to have been announced on July 1 as per the third review of the IMF loan program.
No decision on gas price hikes, or a government decision to stall these will irritate the IMF as this is going back on prior actions which had been agreed in the third review.
Also I don’t see enough meaningful progress on the anti-corruption agenda – which was also the message from the European Union this week.
So looks like a reform lull now until the autumn with the focus now perhaps on the new Donald J. Trump administration initiative with the new US. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker-Vladislav Surkov negotiation channel for bringing an easing of tensions in the east.
I guess Moscow was pleased with the first Trump-Vladimir Putin meeting in Germany but will now be trying to figure out the lay of the land after the latest Donnygate revelations and how that plays to all things into with the U.S.-Russia relationship.
The question in Moscow will be is this the time to offer concessions, play tough, or just to let the dust settles in D.C. I guess Moscow, like the rest of us, finds D.C. difficult to read these days, with the administration seeming to go from one media crisis to the next, competing interests and a lack of real focus at the top of the administration.