Breakfast Debate on Ukraine/EU relations at the Military Academy in Paris

photos 2012-2013 144The President attended a breakfast this morning, where Irina Gorina, Ukrainian Deputy and Economist, was the guest of honor at a debate hosted by Admiral Jean Dufourque of the National Defense Review and Emmanuel Dupuy of the Institute of Prospective; and Security in Europe and the European Center for a Modern Ukraine.

Mr Dupuy did a brief introduction and said that Ukraine needs time to join Europe and that process would probably take 20 years.  He also asked the question : is Ukraine a Western “pivot” (axis) or an Eastern pivot ?

Mrs Gorina then went into a very long and detailed discussion (with consecutive translation) about the reforms that have been accomplished.  “There have never been so many reforms as under President Yanukovich”, she said.  She explained the reforms to the justice system, the penal code, the Electoral system, the tax system, and the distribution of funds to the 25 regions : 40% for the central government and 60% for the regions.  She also spoke of a Council of Investors, with 14 different commissions; and also mentioned the contract with Shell for exploring shale gas.

At the end of her presentation, she said Ukraine is like a boat that is going against the current, that is waiting for the signal from a lighthouse, Europe, and hoping Europe will guide it home.

The Admiral then closed with several questions  on Mrs Gorina’s home region of Kharkiv, about the investment climate, Ukraine’s relations with Russia and the advantages Ukraine has for attracting investors, and of course its relations with France specifically and with Europe in general.

For further reading on the subject, here is the EU annual progress report that just came out : http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/docs/2013_enp_pack/2013_progress_report_ukraine_en.pdf

Here is the article, written by Sébastien Couderc, that appeared in la Revue de Défense Nationale : http://www.calameo.com/read/00055811510c26798332d.

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