Exploring Ukraine's Idea of the EU

On April 25th, the event "Ukraine's Idea of the EU" brought together a panel of experts to explore Ukraine's European identity and its implications for integration into the European Union. The event provided attendees with insights into the perceptions, challenges, and aspirations surrounding this topic.

On April 25th, the event "Ukraine's Idea of the EU" brought together a panel of experts to explore Ukraine's European identity and its implications for integration into the European Union. The event provided attendees with insights into the perceptions, challenges, and aspirations surrounding this topic.

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The discussion began with an analysis by Magnus Lund Nielsen, an EU analyst and academic, who explored what the EU means to Ukrainians. His views highlighted Ukrainians' desires for democratic governance, economic prosperity, and alignment with European norms and standards. Nielsen emphasized the interconnectedness between Ukraine's economy and Russia, particularly in industries like oil and gas. He highlighted the challenges Ukraine faces due to this entanglement, stating, "In terms of provision materials that end up in Russian missiles striking Ukrainian targets, there hasn't been a disentanglement in terms of economy from Russia." Nielsen expressed concern about how EU sanctions on Russia have not been fully effective, allowing Russian entities to profit, including in sectors that should have been embargoed.

Nielsen also pointed out the dilemma Ukrainians face as they strive for survival amidst Russian aggression while also dealing with the economic ties between Ukraine and Russia. He remarked, "Ukrainians have to stay alive, counter the Russian army that wants to attack everything and destroy everything, but simultaneously everybody else is at risk in terms of doing business in Ukraine." He stressed the need for solidarity from the EU, urging them to provide support to Ukraine while avoiding actions that indirectly benefit Russia.

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Following this, a panel discussion moderated by Zoé Elkar Nicot, co-founder of the European Debate Initiative, featured Natalya Popovych, Chair of Ukraine House in Denmark; Vera Skvirskaja, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen; Svitlana Chekunova from the Ukrainian Center for Political and Economic Studies and Magnus Lund Nielsen. 

The panelists discussed the challenges and opportunities of Ukraine's integration into the EU, particularly focusing on areas like international migration, minority rights, and the green transition. They emphasized the importance of aligning Ukrainian legislation with EU standards and the role of business practices in shaping perceptions of European integration. The panel discussion provided deeper insights into Ukraine's evolving European identity and its implications for EU integration.

Magnus Lund Nielsen emphasized the role of the EU in providing a common identity for Ukrainians and as an aspiration for democratic governance and the rule of law. However, other panelists expressed concerns about the perceived lack of solidarity from the EU, stating, "Even though we are receiving a lot of military support, sometimes it feels like our lives matter less than the lives of the state that started aggression against us." 

It was also stressed the need for the EU to uphold its values of equality and solidarity while supporting Ukraine. Vera Skvirskaja highlighted the importance of the rule of law and human rights in Ukraine's aspirations for EU membership. As an anthropologist, Skvirskaja provided insights into how these values are perceived within Ukrainian society, emphasizing their significance in shaping collective aspirations and expectations. The discussion centred on the complexities of Ukraine's relationship with the EU, balancing aspirations for integration with the challenges posed by ongoing conflict and differing perceptions of solidarity and victory.

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TEUH

Throughout the event, there was a recognition of the need for Ukraine to rebuild and recover from the ongoing conflict with Russia while staying committed to European values and principles. The discussion provided valuable insights into the complexities of Ukraine's relationship with the EU and the path forward for deeper integration. The event brought attention to the significance of Ukrainian perspectives on Europe and their efforts to meet EU requirements while highlighting the potential for Ukraine's integration into the EU and the importance of fostering dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders. As Ukraine continues its journey towards closer integration with the EU, events like these serve as important platforms for dialogue, reflection, and collective action towards a common European future.

 

 

Text and photo: Iryna Bulai

The European-Ukrainian Hub
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