On 30 May 2013 the Second National Expert Forum was held in Kyiv: “Ukraine-2013. Agenda”. The Forum was organized by the Gorshenin Institute.
Leading experts, politicians, local and international diplomats and civil activists presented their view on the current situation in Ukraine in the national politics, international relations and economy.
The Forum was divided into three thematic panels.
The first panel was entitled “DOMESTIC POLITICS. NEW POLITICAL SEASON”. In the course of the discussion, the participants discussed how the political landscape had changed in Ukraine, what are the challenges and threats, and an evaluation to the moods in the society was given.
The deputy chair of the Batkivschyna faction ARSEN AVAKOV commented on the article of Yulia Tymoshenko written for news and analysis website LB.ua. Ex-Prime Minister called on the opposition to stop the all-Ukrainian action “Rise Ukraine”, and not to nominate a single candidate from the opposition for the first round of the 2015 presidential election.
According to Arsen Avakov, the opposition has been unable to present a single candidate not because of Tymoshenko’s position, but because of the unpreparedness of the opposition politicians themselves. At the same time, Avakov said that Tymoshenko’s statement is a political move to incite both the adversaries and the allies to take actions that would lead to a result.
Member of the Parliament from the Party of Regions HANNA HERMAN thinks that Tymoshenko is losing popularity and by her statements, she is trying to seek attention.
Member of the Parliament from the Party of Regions VOLODYMYR MAKEENKO noted that by her statements, Tymoshenko is trying to prevent the opposition from uniting.
President of TVi channel, political observer VITALIY PORTNIKOV, who also took part in the Forum, expressed his opinion that Ukraine is pregnant with a social crisis, if not revolution.
The results of a survey conducted by Gorshenin Institute in March 2013 suggest that 61.9 percent of Ukrainians do not believe that an election can be a tool of citizen influence on the government.
Vice-President of the European Parliament JACEK PROTASIEWICZ said that Ukraine currently had a colossal chance which she might miss. He added that the EU was actively assisting the Ukrainian authorities to avoid this. In particular, to this end the EU set up the Cox-Kwasniewski mission, thanks to which former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko was released. With the same purpose the OSCE and the European Parliament also put forward recommendations regarding electoral legislation and reforming the judiciary. Ukraine only has to implement and follow through with them, Protasiewicz stressed.
For his part, the EU ambassador to Ukraine, JAN TOMBINSKI, noted that Ukraine’s chances for signing the Association Agreement were pretty slim without freeing its jailed former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko. According to the Ambassador, the EU may manage without Ukraine. “The other issue is whether it will be beneficial to Ukraine. Will Ukraine be able to preserve its independence? This is what we should think about”, - added Tombinski.
The Government’s commissioner for European integration VALERIY PIATNYTSKYI, who also took part in the Forum, stressed that the signature of the memorandum with the Customs Union will in no way affect the further rapprochement between Kyiv and Brussels.
According to the EU Parliament Vice-President Jacek Protasiewicz, Russia may create obstacles on Ukraine’s European integration path, as Kyiv is very important to Moscow.
Senior Advisor of the Russian Embassy to Ukraine IGOR SEVASTIANOV said at the Forum that the Customs Union offers Ukraine an equal cooperation, at the same time as the EU continually imposes conditions on Kyiv.
The head of the Bleyzer International Foundation OLEG USTENKO, who also took part in the discussion, stressed that the Customs Union may bring short-term benefits to Ukraine, first of all, thanks to the discount on gas, but at the same time, the EU offers not only an economic deal but also the institutional deal Ukraine needs.
The results of a poll conducted by Gorshenin Institute in March 2013 suggest that 41.6 percent of the Ukrainian population believes that the country needs to integrate into the EU.
In the course of the third panel – “ECONOMY. REFORMS. MODERNISATION” – the experts focused on the major trends in the development of the Ukrainian economy, assessment of Ukraine’s reform implementation and the prospects for Kyiv’s cooperation with the international financial institutions.
Head of the Russian VTB Bank in Ukraine VADYM PUSHKAROV thinks that there is no policy of support for the domestic producers in Ukraine. According to him, Ukraine does not know how to deploy tariff barriers and use protectionism to protect the internal market and get priorities on the external ones.
The head of the trade and economic section at the EU Delegation to Ukraine NICHOLAS BURGE, in his turn, expressed his doubt that the protectionism policy would be efficient for Ukraine.
Director for international and investor relations at SCM JOCK MENDOZA-WILSON noted that the essential challenge for the investors is the lack of the rule of law in Ukraine.