April 9, 2012
The head of the Euro-2012 Ukraine local organising committee Markiyan Lubkivskyi called Ukraine’s preparation for the soccer “the peculiar rehearsal of Ukraine’s entering to the EU”. “By preparation for the soccer we have reached new standards not only in the infrastructure – modern stadiums, airports, hotels, but in the life of common people”, he said to French journalists.
It would be great, if was a true. Unfortunately, some new stadiums and airports, few repaired highways absolutely did not change this country and did not bring any European standards in the life of its people. In contrary, the preparation for the Euro-2012 has shown numerous Ukraine’s defects, incompatible with real European integration.
The most anti-European things were going in the sphere of public procurements. Reportedly Ukraine has spent about 7,5 bln euros for the preparation for the soccer, and 90% of the sum is public finances. The most of these money have been spent by companies often owned by officials or their parthners, without any competition. It were lobbied and adopted special provisions in the law on public procurement, allowed to conduct so called “tenders with one participant” when comes about preparations for the Euro-2012. Simply saying, the high ranking officials could give a contracts for any companies they want and define prices under these contracts. In such manner great space for the corruption and stealing public money was created. So it is not surprise that, for example, reconstruction of the Olympic stadium in Kyiv has appeared more expensive than construction of the Allianz arena in Munich, and budget funding for the stadium was permanently increasing during last years. Such tricks dominated everywhere.
It need to remind that public procurements in Ukraine was a subject of special emphasis of the EU for the last years. But its consistent pressure to the Ukrainian authority did not give any positive results. Public procurements remain one of the most corrupt sphere, and preparation for the Euro-2012 has it demonstrated clearly. The first winners of the Euro-2012 became known far before its start whistle – those in Ukraine who, using their offices, have gotten super-profits from the soccer’s budget funding.
The first loser is Ukrainian society. It has paid excessive price for the Euro-2012 in the time, when schools and clinics are closed because of lack of public financing, and for more and more people is difficult to make both ends meet. But not only people have suffered. Hundreds or even thousands stray dogs were killed by barbaric ways in the Ukrainian cities to “clean” it before the soccer.
The big problems remain with accommodation for the foreign fans. There is lack of hotels and hostels. It is result of continuing suppression of the small and medium business and poor business climate in Ukraine at all. The situation with this was only worsening during years of the preparation for the Euro-2012.
Did not disappear corruption at the border. There are serious questions regarding ability of the Ukrainian border guards and customs officials to manage with considerable visitors’ flows.
Does all above mentioned look like rehearsal of Ukraine’s entering to the EU?