The failure of building a democratic, rule of law-based state in Ukraine can lead to disastrous consequences for the country and the region, not to mention the long-term hopes of a democratic future in Russia.
A new stage unfolds in Ukraine. The country is facing yet another decisive period in the last five years. Ukrainians have voted massively for a new president, a newcomer to the political scene, and they have redesigned the previous Rada in the same way. In a semi-presidential system such as the Ukrainian, much depends on the balance of power in the parliament and its relationship with the executive and the president. Now, for the first time in the independent Ukraine, the three institutions are in the hands of one leader and his party.
Three major factors continue to determine the prospects of building a rule of law-based and stable Ukraine, and addressing the challenges the country’s economy is facing: the progress of domestic reforms towards a state accountable to its citizens, Russia’s actions regarding the situation in the insurgent area of the Donbass and the scope of European Union support to Ukrainians’ democratic struggle.
The failure of building a democratic, rule of law-based state in Ukraine can lead to disastrous consequences for the country and the region, not to mention the long-term hopes of a democratic future in Russia. Considering that regional and European stability is at stake every time a potential change of government takes place in one of the area’s countries, the political nature of the Ukrainian regime remains a key factor.
Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
Francisco Belil, Vice President, Bertelsmann Foundation in Spain
María Pallares, Programme Coordinator, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Madrid
Francisco Fonseca Morillo, Director, Representation of the European Commission in Spain
Where there have been reforms, they have been slower than the country requires. The country’s economy is still facing existential challenges. Reform of the judiciary and public administration, in particular, are badly needed if major battles such as the fight against Ukraine’s endemic corruption and getting rid of the oligarchic system of power are to be won.
After presidential and parliamentary elections: what do the results tell us? How much reform-oriented is the new leadership of the country? Will the new parliament prove more consistent with the requirements real reforms entail? Is this the generational change in decision-making positions that the country urgently needed?
Chair: Carmen Claudín, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
Olena Halushka, Head International Relations, Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), Kyiv
Miriam Kosmehl, Senior Expert, Bertelsmann-Stiftung, Gütersloh
Anastasia Krasnosilska, Servant of the People MP. Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Corruption Policy, Kyiv
Yulia Klymenko, Holos MP, Former Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, Kyiv
The unsettled relationship with Russia
A political and lasting resolution of the armed conflict in the Donbass areas under the Russian-controlled insurgency does not seem to be close, even if the hostilities may cease. The Minsk agreement is not delivering, what could break the deadlock? How will the new Ukrainian administration speak to the Kremlin? Can the relationship with Russia be disentangled?
What can the European Union do for Ukraine?
The recent elections have not changed the pro-European orientation of the country. Kyiv needs –from the EU and from NATO- a clear and resolute support for the Ukrainian sovereignty. Brussels should look for a more decisive role, provided the required foreign assistance –in particular, in the economic sphere- is conditional on the completion of the democratic reforms that the Euromaidan strived for in 2014. But after visa liberalisation, what other leverages could Brussels make use of if integration is not on the horizon?
Chair: Anna Bosch, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, TVE
Anna Korbut, Journalist, Chatham House, London
Wilfried Jilge, Associate Fellow, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin
Andrei Kolesnikov, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Moscow Center
Daria Gaidai, Foreign Policy Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
Peter Wagner, Head Support Group for Ukraine at the European Commission and Director in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Brussels
José Antonio Sabadell, Director of Policy Planning, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation