Theses of the participants of the public discussion “Kharkiv Dimension of Eurointegration”
6 April 2018, 10:34

On April 5, 2018, New Europe Center held a public discussion in Kharkiv entitled “Kharkiv Dimension of European Integration”.


Žygimantas Pavilionis, member of the Lithuanian Seimas, former Ambassador of Lithuania to the United States

  • The sense of security was the most important argument for the Baltic states for joining the European Union and NATO
  • Ukraine should normalize its relations with all neighbors that are members of the European Union
  • Against Russia’s aggression, Ukraine should maintain internal unity


Juris Poikāns, Ambassador of Latvia to Ukraine

  • The main arguments for Latvia’s aspirations to join the European Union were ensuring national security, the need to improve the living standards of the population, and return to the European civilization space
  • The negative consequences of Latvia’s accession to the European Union are deindustrialization and migration of the population to wealthier EU countries. Ukraine’s population migrates to the more prosperous EU countries even without joining the European Union, e.g. to Poland; heavy industry enterprises are also being shut down
  • Ukraine should try to keep its own industry to avoid repeating Latvia’s mistakes


Andriy Kolos, Director of the Department of Economics and International Relations of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration

  • Since 2014, Ukrainian enterprises have switched from the Russian market to the European one
  • In 2017, the trade turnover of Kharkiv region with the EU member states amounted to USD 829 million against 659 million with Russia, indicating a change in the trade priority of the region in favor of the European countries
  • Despite the hostilities in eastern Ukraine, no investor had left Kharkiv region in 2014
  • Strong pro-Russian sentiments remain in Kharkiv, but there is a trend of supporting the European integration vector


Serhiy Zhadan, writer and public figure

  • Today’s Kharkiv could be figuratively divided into two parts, the pro-European and the non-European ones
  • Both categories of Kharkiv people want change, democracy, and European standards, including the financial ones
  • It is necessary to prevent the division of society into “us” and “them”
  • Ukrainians will have to make compromises; however, it is important that these compromises have not damaged the process of European integration
  • Ukrainian society is in a state of hybrid war, and someone is trying to convince the people that the enemies are supposedly among them


Dmytro Bulakh, Co-chairman of the Board of the Kharkiv Reform Coalition, deputy of Kharkiv Regional Council

  • In 2014, Kharkiv had already suffered all the losses that it could have experienced during the European integration. Now, within the framework of European integration, it could only get benefits, as it had already got all the disadvantages
  • If Ukraine, as well as the Baltic countries, had resolutely pursued reforms and the course toward joining the EU and NATO since 1991, we would not have had a war today
  • Ukraine had suffered from the indecisiveness of its leadership, since the course toward European integration had to be established as early as in the 1990’s
  • In 2014-2015, support for the Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine was much higher in Kharkiv than today, as the authorities have not been able to implement the expected reforms

Photos from the public discussion “Kharkiv Dimension of Eurointegration” available here 

This event was held within the framework of the program “Enhance Non-Governmental Actors and Grassroots Engagement” (ENGAGE), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact in Ukraine.

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