Why Ukraine Matters to Poland and the EU

Why Ukraine Matters to Poland and the EU

Thursday, 21 January 2016 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Wojciech Konończuk, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw

Venue:
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR

Speaker:
Wojciech Konończuk, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw

Discussant:
Andrew Wilson, UCL/European Council on Foreign Relations, London

Recordings:

The Maidan was a second attempt of the Ukrainian society to put the country on a path of modernisation. Russia’s unexpected response to Ukraine’s revolution led to the most serious crisis in Europe after the collapse of communism. It was an obvious evidence that a 45-million nation between the EU and the Russian Federation matters more than majority of the Western observers imagined. In spite of not yet frozen conflict in Donbass, the main task of the post-Maidan Ukraine has been to implement comprehensive, structural reforms in all main areas of the state’s operation. The demand for changes among the society is enormous. However, the experience of the last two years proves that this process will be difficult, long-lasting, with many obstacles, and its results still remain uncertain. It seems that the current government has limited capacity and political will to reform the country. At the same time the fiasco of post-revolutionary Ukraine would have far-reaching negative consequences for Europe. Therefore, the EU should engage more in accelerating the reform process in this country. Poland, one of Ukraine’s closest neighbours, is a country highly interested in a successful Ukrainian transformation. In the last two decades both countries developed relations having strategic dimension. Although there are still some problems to be solved yet (unfinished historical reconciliation) Poland remains a keen supporter of Ukraine’s reforms and its European integration.

Wojciech Konończuk – a senior fellow at the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), a leading Polish think-tank, where he heads the Eastern Europe department. In his research he focuses mainly on political and economic situation in Ukraine and Belarus as well as energy policy. He is a regular contributor to „New Eastern Europe” journal and “Tygodnik Powszechny” weekly. He studied international relations in Poland (Warsaw University and Warsaw School of Economics) and Russia (St. Petersburg State University). He was a visiting scholar at Kennan Institute in Washington, DC.