Eurasia

Albania – CIPE Senior Consultant Carmen Stanila facilitated a workshop with ten participants, representing National Business Forum members, from leading Albanian business associations and chambers of commerce. Stanila led the Forum members in discussions about the future of the coalition, including its internal governance structure, fundraising, and growing membership. Participants unanimously agreed that the coalition should focus on the issue of private sector informality in 2015.

Moldova – CIPE, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDSI), and the National Business Agenda (NBA) Network held a public hearing on the topic of improving the Moldovan education system to suit the needs of the private sector. This was the second public hearing organized by IDSI and the NBA Network. CIPE has provided extensive technical assistance and training to IDSI and the NBA Network to prepare for public hearings. The event gathered about 60 participants from the private sector, the government, academia, NGOs, media, and students. Prior to the event, the organizers collected a total of 67 written position statements from the private sector (45 statements), heads of education institutions (17), students (2), and government agencies (3). Of these, 11 were presented at the hearing. A four-member expert committee will prepare a report summarizing the statements and outlining proposals for reform for the business community to discuss with government.

Ukraine – CIPE organized an expert roundtable with the taxation working group of the Reanimation Reform Package (RRP), one of Ukraine's most important civil society groups. The roundtable, which included presentations on how tax simplification would benefit Ukrainian SMEs, will lead to recommendations for the government as it drafts tax reform legislation. CIPE consultant Laszlo Kallay spoke on how tax and regulatory simplification was crucial in Hungary as it undertook, much like Ukraine now, reforms for EU integration. CIPE and the RRP agreed to hold monthly meetings of the working group, which will result in additional government proposals to ease the burden of business taxes and compliance costs for SMEs.

Ukraine– CIPE consultant Laszlo Kallay traveled to Kyiv this week to work with Ukrainian government officials on reforms in the SME sector. Kallay is working with the State Administration for Regulatory Policy and the Ministry of Economic Development to improve the country’s legal framework for SMEs, which will both clarify government responsibilities toward SMEs as well as bring Ukrainian SME policy closer to European Union standards.

Ukraine- Regional Director for Eurasia and South Asia Marc Schleifer and Program Officer Anthony Chang visited Kyiv to discuss current and future CIPE programs. Meetings included U.S. government officials from USAID and the Department of Commerce, as well as civil society representatives including the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council and the Eurasia Foundation, both of whom are eager to strengthen cooperation with CIPE. The Kyiv agenda also included meetings with polling firms, as CIPE Ukraine is undertaking two national surveys on the Ukraine's SME sector.

Ukraine- CIPE held a presentation in Kyiv of its new USAID program, "Supporting Urgent Reforms to Better Ukraine's Business Environment (SURE)." Bringing together over 40 representatives from donors and local NGOs, the event focused on areas of potential collaboration with CIPE in this new project. The event also saw the unveiling of CIPE's Roadmap for Reform, a report on legislative initiatives identified by the business community as key to improving the country's SME sector. The Roadmap will form the basis of advocacy efforts led by CIPE's civil society partners, who will advocate with the new government to adopt specific reforms.

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