We, 15 Ukrainian civil servants from the President’s Administration, the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, the Ministry of Industrial Policy and the National Bank of Ukraine had the opportunity between April and October 2014 to complete an internship in the GIZ GmbH training programme for young managers of the Government of Ukraine. During that period we mastered the best international practices of public administration. For example, we learned how to clearly and convincingly communicate our thoughts to those around us, to make powerful presentations, to see ourselves as others do, to negotiate, and to cope with stress and life while at the same time being original and creative. We also learned about the structure of the German state, the mental and cultural differences between Germany and Ukraine.
The trip to Germany was relevant and informative for each of us today. In Germany we visited the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Office of the Federal President, the Office of the Federal Chancellor, the Embassy of Ukraine in Germany, many Germany ministries and agencies. We had the opportunity to share opinions on those topics that are of particular concern to us, for example, the present and future of economic and political relations between Ukraine and Germany, the Federal Government’s policy on the EU, Ukraine’s prospects for joining the EU, and many others.
Our comments below tell of the favourable impressions that Germany had on us, of the professional meetings that were extremely useful for our work, and what aspects of the experience we as young managers would like to put into practice in Ukraine.
Natalia Lopatina, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
“It could be felt in practically everything that this is a country that lives in accordance with the law and according to accepted rules. Particularly valuable was the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during which I and other interns were able to ask German diplomats vital questions about the cooperation between Ukraine and Germany, in particular in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. In my opinion, today the efforts of all politicians and civil servants of Ukraine should be focused on creating civilised “rules of the game” within our state that exist in developed countries, in particular, in Germany, and determine their political stability, sustainable economic development and, accordingly, high indicators of citizens’ prosperity. Another significant “borrowing” is that all representatives of the public administration system should be aware that the success of everyone and the country as a whole depends on the work of each person.”
Alina Oganovskaya, Ministry of Agrarian Policy
“Berlin is a very beautiful city that combines both modern and traditional, or historic, architecture. Business areas alternate with museum spaces or green areas, which give the city a special charm. As part of our training programme I had the opportunity to visit the agrarian ministry of Germany. It was very nice that the German colleagues departed from the meeting schedule that had been planned in advance to candidly respond to questions. I would like to note in particular the typically systematic way in which German managers find solutions to any challenges. Sometimes it takes years to solve them or to implement already planned solutions.”
Elena Popova,National Bank of Ukraine
Alla Popova, Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
“I should mention in particular the meeting at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany with Mr Robert Kirchner from the German Advisory Group on Economic Reform who made a presentation on the topic of the ‘Economic Reform Agenda for Ukraine'”. In his presentation Mr Kirchner defined the basic problems of developing the modern Ukrainian economy, in particular in the macroeconomic situation, monetary, fiscal and trade policy, as well as in the financial sector. He gave comments and recommendations regarding reforms in Ukraine on the development of small and medium size enterprises, the currency exchange rate, fiscal consolidation and the banking system”.
Natalia Kulyanitsa and Maya Koshman, Ministry of Economic Development
“A country with clear rules and responsible employees with a transparent system of public administration. In terms of institutional development we would like to mention the meeting at the President’s Administration during which you understand how civil servants operate in accordance with European norms. In terms of substance we were struck by the meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the professionalism and qualifications of the employees, and the respect for civil servants of all levels and positions. At the same time, it is quite difficult to compare the working conditions of civil servants in two different systems of public administration, considering the political and financial aspects of each country. A view from within over a longer period of time is needed to better understand work in the system”.
Yulia Lebedko, Ministry of Economic Development
“Thanks to the fact that a wide range of representatives of different government agencies of Germany participated in our meetings, we were able to form quite an objective view of their employees on the current political and economic situation in Ukraine. We outlined the key problems that are yet to be resolved in order to achieve success in the integration process, and in the future we will work on this in Ukraine. We also had the opportunity to receive first-hand information on existing opportunities for—and obstacles to—EU integration. To summarise, I would like to note that Ukraine is now going through the process of developing a business environment. In this regard, the experience of a European country that has already gone through this process and achieved extraordinary results is extremely important for Ukraine. Therefore, the visit has enormous importance for us in order to learn from that European experience, to adopt and successfully apply it in our country”.
Andrey Tereshchuk, Ministry of Industrial Policy
“It was good that during meetings with representatives of German government agencies we were provided not with ‘dry’ information and instructions on what we were required to do, or how we were to behave; rather we were constantly engaged in an active dialogue and sensed the intention of the German representatives to understand the reasons for our concern about the difficulties on Ukraine’s path to European integration. Such an attitude created an atmosphere of support, solidarity with the aspirations of Ukrainian people to be free and to build a truly European state in Ukraine. We distinctly perceived that Germany approaches with great responsibility the development of bilateral Ukrainian-German relations and is prepared to assist Ukraine in these difficult times for our state.”
Roksolana Stadnik, Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
We would like to thank all of the organisers for providing us with the opportunity to take part in the programme and in the holding of meetings with civil servants of Germany’s key institutions. Also during the programme we received recommendations on successful management mechanisms, unconventional ways of solving problems and achieving good results in doing so. All of this is needed today in the work of each of our country’s civil servants. I am confident that for all of the programme participants—and these are promising, and some of the best, young civil servants— it is a good start, while for others it is a continuation. It is important that the programme allowed all of us to become acquainted with one another, and to improve both our skills and our outlook. I hope that the experience acquired in the GIZ GmbH training programme for young managers of the Government of Ukraine will be useful for each of us in our activity and will help us to reach new professional heights.
By Roksolana Stadnik