October 1, 2013 – Lviv & Kyiv Initiative Groups Alpbach, associate members of the European Forum Alpbach Network, remaining faithful to the EFA ideals and true to the European democratic values, held the local Panel Discussion in Alpbach traditions with Dr. Erhard Busek, Vice-Chancellor of Austria, Honorary President of the EFA, Coordinator of the South-Eastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI) and Chairman of the Institute for Danube Region and Central Europe. The selected topic ”Scenarios of Ukraine – EU relations in the context of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement” is crucial for the Ukrainian society and important for the EU nowadays.
The Panel Discussion took place in the Conference Hall of Faculty of International Relations, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
The following honorable guests and experts participated in the Panel Discussion:
- Wolf Dietrich Heim, Austrian Ambassador to Ukraine.
- Dr. Oksana Wynnyckyj, a representative of Ukrainian World Congress in Canada.
Representatives of the business circle:
- Oleksiy Skrypnyk, Chief Executive Officer of ELEKS.
- Ihor Horbkovyy, Head of the Regional representative office “Zakhidne” in Lviv DP Siemens Ukraine.
Representatives of the the academic circle:
- Oksana Krayevska, Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Relations, Ivan Franko Lviv National University.
- Christina Shumlyak, Assistant Dean of the Faculty of International Relations, Department of International Law and Comparative Law of Kyiv University of Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Before to start the Panel Discussion, Iryna Mazepa, LIGA President and Olena Chernova, KIGA President conducted a brief presentation of the European Forum Alpbach for the students of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, introduced the audience with the history, programme and scholarships of the EFA and activity of Initiative Groups in Ukraine.
Former scholarship holders of the EFA from Lviv shared their exciting experience of participation in the Forum with the students.
The Panel Discussion was opened by the moderator Oksana Holovko-Havrysheva, associate professor of the European Law Department of the faculty of International Relations of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.
The perspectives and the assessment of Ukraine’s readiness to sign the EU-Ukraine association deal and relations in the EU-Ukraine-Russia triangle, benefits and difficulties for business, politics, education and science were discussed with the panelists and guests of the Panel Discussion.
Dr. Busek did a short discourse on the history of Europe before and after the II World War sharing his personal experiences and views. “After the II World War, we did not know anything about the other side of the iron curtain.” Dr. Busek outlined that now each of us is an ambassador of Ukraine and our extremely important task is to “teach the other Europeans getting some knowledge about your country because Europeans have a lot of prejudges.”
From Dr. Busek point of view no doubt that Ukraine is a part of Europe and the importance of the Euro integration of Ukraine for the EU is obvious and the EU shows an effective sign of Eastern partnership towards Ukraine.
Dr. Oksana Wynnyckyj was representing Ukrainian World Congress, which is based in Canada (UWC), a non-profit organization, international coordination assembly of all Ukrainian public organizations in diaspora. The UWC was recognized by the United Nations and represents the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians.
From Dr. Oksana Wynnyckyj point of view after the signing the Association Agreement the geopolitical map of Europe and the world will change, Ukraine will be transformed from “a borderland” into “the bridge” between the west Europe and Euroasia”. The most crucial thing is that after signing of the Association Agreement “It (Ukraine) will no longer be the territory for competing ideologies.”
Mr. Skrypnyk, CEO ELEKS, said that the European integration course was the right direction but he as a pragmatic business person was skeptical regarding the economic and legislation readiness of Ukraine to sign the Association Agreement. He mentioned that “the EU has many illusions regarding Ukraine.”
Concluding his speech he stressed that after signing of the Association Agreement “We do not have to work hard. We have to work smart.”
Austrian Ambassador to Ukraine Wolf Dietrich Heim responded that changes in legislation and law system are gradual development, which take time and since last half of year Ukraine has significantly improved its own legislation in according to the EU criteria.
The Ambassador gave an example before Austria joined the EU in 1995, Austria had to do a lot of changes in its own legislation in according to the requirements of the European standarts and its implementation took time as well.
From Wolf Dietrich Heim, Austrian Ambassador to Ukraine point of view “the Association Agreement is a good push forward for Ukraine to harmonize and modernize its legislation in according to the EU requirements to find its own place on the geopolitical map and to make Ukrainian economy competetive on the global market”.
The academics Oksana Krayevska, Ivan Franko Lviv National University and Christina Shumlyak, Kyiv University of Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine discused the perspectives which the Association Agreement opens for high education, new possibilities for the youth and exchange programmes between Ukrainian and European universities.
The panelists and the students had a fruitful discussion regarding Ukraine’s steps towards the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement during the Panel Discussion.
It was an honour for Lviv and Kyiv Initiative Groups to bring “the spirit of Alpbach” by hosting the local Panel Discussion with Dr. Busek in Ukraine and introducing the students with the European Forum Alpbach.