HALF OF UKRAINE'S BUSINESSES NOT PAYING TAXES. The Ukrainian Economic Ministry has said half of Ukraine's businesses have paid no taxes so far this year, Ukrainian Television reported on 15 October. To prevent such losses in the future, the ministry proposes to lower tax rates in a tax reform that is to be debated by the Ukrainian parliament during its current session, dpa reported. The ministry urges lawmakers to decrease value-added tax from 20 to 15 percent and cut taxes on company profits from 30 to 20 percent. JM

UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS WANT PARLIAMENT TO FORM GOVERNMENT. Communist leader Petro Symonenko told journalists on 15 October that the Communists are ready to enter the government and "shoulder all the responsibility" provided that the parliament rather than the president forms the cabinet, Interfax reported. Symonenko said the constitution must be amended so that the government reports to the parliament. He added that the Communist caucus has enough members for two cabinets. Symonenko's remarks follow Premier Valeriy Pustovoytenko's proposal to lawmakers to form an "intercaucus" cabinet (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 October 1998). Pustovoytenko's proposal did not extend to the Communist caucus. JM

KUCHMA IN AUSTRIA. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma held talks with his Austrian counterpart, Thomas Klestil, in Vienna on 15 October. "We note with great joy that Austria...supports our efforts to be integrated in Europe," Reuters quoted Kuchma as saying after the meeting. Klestil, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told journalists that "there is a long-term European prospect also for Ukraine." Ukraine is seeking EU associate membership as the first step toward integration into European structures. JM