Kyiv-based EasyBusiness has won the 2019 Europe Liberty Award for its work toward ending the ban on the sale of agricultural land in Ukraine. The $6,500 prize is generously sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and is part of Atlas Network's suite of Regional Liberty Awards. Three other finalists—Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Libertarian Club Libek, and Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation—were each awarded $1,500. The award was announced at Europe LIberty Forum 2019.
"It is a historical step forward and prerequisite towards the opening of the farmland market in Ukraine, which will generate billions into our economy," said EasyBusiness CEO Andrew Shpakov. "So the game is not over yet, and we will continue our efforts, given prospects of the upcoming new government. We are very much grateful for Atlas Network and its generous donors who recognized our hard work and, most importantly, for our team and partners for its dedication and commitment for almost 4 years of the project.”
EasyBusiness developed a comprehensive land reform strategy that included strategic litigation, which is helping to end a moratorium of the sale of agricultural land. Its plans included a policy research program; an online platform to support landowners in filing applications to the European Court of Human Rights to challenge the legality of the ban and to build bottom-up pressure for reform; and a broad communications strategy. So far, EasyBusiness pushed the ECHR to officially recognize the ban as unconstitutional and the one that strongly violates property rights of Ukrainians for the last 18 years. This, in turn, forces the government to develop a pro-market law in the nearest future, otherwise, the state will pay compensation for each of 7 million landowners, that may total US$50 billion.
“The implementation of the farmland reform in Ukraine is a long-playing game that requires tremendous effort and dedication,” said Dmytro Lyvch, project manager and head of analytics at EasyBusiness. “And our team is happy to see that our work actually pays off and gains global recognition.”
To read about EasyBusiness' project in detail, click here.