News Politics, 28/02/2019

International Experts Meet in Kharkiv to Discuss Ukraine’s EU Integration

On the eve of the elections in Ukraine and EU, Ukrainian and European experts called to improve strategic communication in political, legal, and informational areas as an integral part of the process of Ukraine’s further European integration.

On February 22, experts from Ukraine, Belgium, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania, and Estonia met in Kharkiv at an event, called “The Place of a New Ukraine in the Architecture of European Institutions.” They discussed the impact that the ongoing changes in the European political landscape have on Ukraine’s integration into EU institutions.

Furthermore, the event’s topics also addressed spreading accurate information on Ukraine’s intensified cooperation with the EU, advances in the reform of the judiciary, the information security, in particular, creating a system to counter external interference in internal political processes, the country’s integration into European systems for detecting and responding to hybrid threats.

The speakers were Dovydas Vitkauskas, the Pravo-Justice Project, Lidiya Prymachenko, political scientist from Germany, Nika Chitadze, Director of the Center for International Studies, Georgia, Dmitri Teperik, International Centre for Defence and Security, Estonia, Lina Grishkevich, National Courts Administration, Lithuania, Yevhen Mahda, Institute of World Policy, Kyiv, James Wilson, The EU Ukraine Business Council, Belgium, Avidas Medalinskas, political analyst at the Donbas Gates NGO, Lithuania, Mykola Bielieskov, Institute of World Policy, Kyiv, Oleksandr Demchenko, international journalist, Kyiv, Maria Avdeeva, European Expert Association, Kharkiv.

Among the highlights was the “Ukrainian Expert Review” guidebook first edition presentation. The book is a collection of analytical works on political, economic, and legal dimensions of Ukraine’s integration into the EU, issues of Ukraine’s positioning in the European information space within the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, as well as elections to the European Parliament.

During the discussion, Lidiya Prymachenko has noted that Ukraine can use 2019 to revise the agenda with the EU to update prior areas of cooperation. Pragmatic initiatives and substantive content of cooperation will continue to be welcomed by official Brussels. Based on this, the main priorities for the Ukrainian leadership in 2019 are to create a realistic agenda for bilateral cooperation and its active lobbying in the EU, believes Prymachenko.

Much attention was devoted to the security threats in different areas, especially during the ongoing elections process in Ukraine. Experts noted the Russian Federation’s intensive efforts to influence the results of the elections in Ukraine. That’s why Ukrainian society and state agencies should consolidate and make everything possible to contain problems, that the Russian Federation might cause, and demonstrate democratic development commitment to the international community.

In this context, James Wilson pointed out that the ruling elite in modern Russia is still dreaming about the geopolitical project of the “Russian world.” Despite the growing problems within Russia itself, threatening its domestic political stability and the unity of 85 subjects of the federation, it is Ukraine’s independence that remains at the top of the agenda of the Kremlin strategists. According to the expert, one can clearly trace a coordinated strategy concentrated on destabilizing Ukraine that is the primary goal of the Russian hybrid war.

Improving strategic communications between Ukrainian and international expert hubs was recognized as an essential condition for creating effective mechanisms in identifying, evaluating and adequately counteracting the hybrid threats that are a supranational problem and affect not only Ukraine’s European integration aspirations but also European interests.

“Cyber attacks on government bodies will become an element of destabilization of the situation during the elections. However, this direction, in my opinion, causes less concern than others, since both the leaders of Ukraine and NATO representatives emphasized their readiness to protect Ukrainian cyberspace from unauthorized influence,” said co-organizer of the round table Yevhen Magda. International experts and participants stressed out that it is very important to continue such events in Kharkiv which is situated near the Russian border and occupied territories.

The event was organized on the initiative of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations European Expert Association and Institute of World Policy, supported by the EU-Ukraine Pravo-Justice Project.

Text: Olexandr Kravchenko

Photo: Kharkiv Reform Coalition Facebook page