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The European destiny of Ukraine

Digital format, 07/07/2022, International Webinar

Aspen Institute Kyiv and Aspen Institute Italy held a discussion “European destiny of Ukraine”. Ukrainian and Italian leaders exchanged views on Ukraine’s prospects in the EU and the required steps which should be made for future membership accession. 

Marta Dassu, Senior Advisor European Affairs at Aspen Institute Italy, moderated the event. Angelo Maria Petroni, Secretary General at Aspen Institute Italia, and Yuliya Tychkivska, Executive Director at Aspen Institute Kyiv, made  introductory remarks at the beginning of the event.

On June 23, during the EU Summit, Ukraine was granted the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union. Aspen Institute Kyiv launched a series of discussions between Ukrainian and European leaders to explain what Ukraine can bring to the EU and which steps will be next.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Chair of the Committee on Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union, and Natalie Forsyuk, General Director of the Governmental Office on European Integration and NATO, represented Ukraine. Pietro Benassi, Italian Permanent Representative to the European Union, and Nicola Verola, Deputy Director General/Principal Director for European Integration, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented Italy. 

Both sides agreed that the Russian unprovoked aggression against Ukraine launched in Europe challenges not only the security, energy, and food supply, but also posed an existential question about preserving the European political and value system. 

Why is it important to support Ukraine in its European choice?

  • Ukraine has always belonged to European civilization. Starting from Kyiv Russ and going through different countries that were on its territory, Ukraine was an important part of European civilization. But over the last 300 years, Ukrainians were erased from the mental, cultural, and historic map of the world by the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation. It took Ukraine a lot of effort to return itself to the map. 
  • Ignorance of previous Russian aggression led to a full-scale invasion. Because of the lack of Ukrainian resources and the successful Russian engagement in the European and Euro-Atlantic community, Ukraine has not been well heard. Moreover, the global ignorance of Crimea annexation and war in Donbass led to a full-scale invasion on February 24.
  • The result of the Russian-Ukrainian war will impact and shape the global order. Also, it will shape the ability of European and Euroatlantic projects to succeed in the future. In the defense of Ukraine Europe also defends its values. 
  • Ukraine can bring refreshment to the EU. Over this war, the EU has regained its ability to act as a geopolitical player not only economically. This gives us a positive prospect for both Ukraine and the EU in the future. For the EU to redefine and reopen itself. 

It is important to comply with EU requirements

At the same time, both Ukraine and the EU countries understand the importance of completing all the requirements for future EU accession.  

Italy representatives stressed that although the EU enlargement has already shown its ability to stabilize the situation in its countries, the EU enlargement is not a conquering, but a bringing to the family. Becoming a member of the EU means becoming a part of the decision-making system in it. It is important to comply with requirements with no exceptions.

Ukrainian representatives highlighted that for our country, the European choice is not only a fate, but a political decision. Before the full-scale invasion, Ukraine had completed 63% of the Association agreement and planned to complete it in March 2022. For today, the Ukrainian government already proposed a plan of what should be done to meet the recommendations by the end of the year. 

Earlier, Aspen Institute Kyiv held events on European integration of Ukraine in partnership with Aspen Institute France and Aspen Institute Germany.