Matiyeshyn on Europe, through a Ukrainian eye

Starting my first blog, I would like to mention a couple words about myself. My name is Ivan Semenovych Matiyeshyn. I am a successful businessman. I work in the energy sphere, in particular in the area of drilling, development, arrangement and capital repair of oil and gas wells on the territory of the CIS states. I am engaged in charity in Ukraine. When I started my activities on the Ukrainian terrains I thought that politics wouldn’t become a part of my aspirations, but the situation in Ukraine makes everyone who is not indifferent to the destiny of their country to have a responsible public position. That’s why I spend a part of my income on sponsoring activities of Ukrainian Foundation for Democracy “People First”. You can find out about the mission and activities of the Foundation on its web-site (www.peoplefirst.org.ua).

In future I am planning to actively participate in the Ukrainian political dialogue and development of democracy in Ukraine.

I’ve chosen “EurActiv” to express my positions, ideas and thoughts, because it is an authoritative and influential European informational resource. It will allow the audience from the EU states and the whole world to find out more about the situation in Ukraine and some other CIS states.

Therefore, using the possibility of a dialogue with the European intellectuals and statesmen, I suggest to expand a discussion about the future of Europe, its problems and perspectives through the Ukrainian context. A 45 million people country in the center of Europe, which practically isn’t inferior to Germany and France in its territory and resources, must have influence upon the building of “The unitary European house”. Thus, dear readers, in my posts I will write you as much as possible about my position regarding the current development of Ukraine and its possible influence upon the EU.

A modern globalized world and the European Union, as its integral part, continue to go through a systematic financial and economic crisis. Current problems in the European zone and debt obligations of Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and even Italy vividly confirm this.

Ukraine, being an integral part of the world and Europe, also suffers from the influence of the crisis, but mainly it continues to be under the influence of internal problems. Herewith, Ukraine continues to maintain a high working, human and scientific potential and one of the richest resource bases in Europe as well.

So that I am not considered to be proofless, let me say that Ukraine has 32.3 million hectares of virgin lands (25% of the world sources of the black earth are located in the flat country); great sources of drinking water, mineral water and hydropower resources; iron ore (the first place in the world according to the proved sources); manganese ore (90% of the world sources are concentrated in the Republic of South Africa and Ukraine); coal (Ukraine is in the top ten countries according to the sources); uranium (Ukraine is in the top six countries according to the world sources); considerable deposits of oil and gas; rare earth metals, raw materials for producing titanium, silicon, etc. The market value of the whole mineral and raw materials source of Ukraine, according to scientists, is equivalent to 7.5 trillion dollars.

This year Ukraine celebrated its 20-th anniversary of independence. We still maintain a social and political stability, territorial integrity; not to say that without problems but mechanisms of transference of power function. However owing to the weakness of the Ukrainian democracy, which came out of the Soviet past in 1991, the political elite can’t reach consensus in building the state. As a result, we have permanent serious changes in the rules of functioning of the political regime in the country, “a war of all against all” in politics. So, it is no wonder that the people completely lost trust in the politicians, stating in the social researches that Ukraine already with the fourth president again declares democratic principles, but at the same time it gets stuck halfway between democracy and dictatorship.

At the same time, we observe, from Ukraine, the exhaustion of the potential of the European Union economic growth and accumulation of economic, demographic, political, social and other problems in it.

We aspire to come to the European Union not solely for the sake of membership. We aspire to a partnership of both Ukraine and the Unitary Europe.

What do I mean by this? In the first place, I mean that Ukraine remains to be one of the most perspective platforms for the European Union. For instance, having attracted European technologies and investments, we could demonstrate a rapid growth in agriculture, heavy and light industry, development of energetics and energy saving technologies, space and aviation areas, etc. Herewith, Ukraine can become the EU partner in economic interrelations and not a rival, setting a general stable vector of the whole Eastern European region development. The Ukraine’s development potential is so huge that it remains to be one of the most attractive investment and innovation platforms for the European Union which needs a “fresh blood” to get out of the general crisis.

If Europe doesn’t react to the Ukrainian possibilities and resources, in the first place, then there will appear many great states which will try to realize their missions by using this potential. Traditionally this role is played by Russia, the most open, in its way, and peaceful neighbor of Ukraine. But already now a considerable interest of the USA, China and Arabian states can be noticed. The world doesn’t tolerate emptiness, but thinking from Ukraine, it would be good if Kyiv and Brussels realized a real mutual potential of achievements which each of the side would receive while efficiently using the Ukrainian platform for valuable and equal-right good-neighborliness with all countries. And fulfilled their historical mission of uniting Europe…

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Comments

  1. Congratulations Mr Matiyeshyn for providing transparency on your goals and personal background.
    You seem to have public interest in mind, regarding Ukraine’s democracy.
    If I may, a bit like me when I set up EurActiv.com, initially in EU circles: transparency and better information was needed.

    Ukraine’s integration in Europe will take time, and should not force Ukraine to severe links with Russia.
    So, it should be sustained on the economic side. Just like European did with free trade and then the internal market, including labour movement.
    And one might not immediately focus on sensitive institutional and security aspects.

    That is why I personally advocate a pan-European market:
    http://euroman.blogactiv.eu/2010/11/27/pan-european-eec-idea-endorsed-by-russia/
    This, in parallel with strengthening democracy, with support from NGOs like yours and also the EU:
    http://www.euractiv.com/specialreport-eu-ukraine-relations/ukraine-government-split-eu-democracy-grants-news-507594

    This seems supported by a number of EU, Ukrainian and Russia personalities:
    http://www.euractiv.com/europes-east/special-report-russia-ukraine-eye-customs-union-eu-news-504944

    Good continuation,

    Christophe Leclercq

    1. Dear Christophe,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I share your opinion concerning the considerable time required for the process of formation of Ukrainian democracy. Undoubtedly, economics is the best basis for integration of Ukraine and Europe in order to evade complications in Ukrainian-Russian relations.
      At the same time, traditional mechanisms of influence of the public upon authorities in Ukraine aren’t effective yet. Along with declared transparency, the present Ukrainian government shows unwillingness to cooperate with non-governmental organizations in the sphere of democratization of the country. For this reason, I repose my special hopes in the EU position at the September “Eastern Partnership” summit in Warsaw.
      I express hope and expectation that our dialogue and cooperation become the effective mechanism of improvement of democratic standards in Ukraine.

      Kindly regards,
      Ivan Matiyeshyn

  2. I’d like to ask 2 questions:

    1. Do you really think the Ukraine will become an EU member within, say, the next 20 years? I’m not convinced personally.

    2. The only part of your post that you highlight is this, “What do I mean by this? In the first place, I mean that Ukraine remains to be one of the most perspective platforms for the European Union. ” What do you mean? The word ‘perspective’ is clearly the wrong one. Do you mean prosperous perhaps?

    I know it is easy for a Brit to pick holes in other people’s use of English, and I am trying not do that. But it does seem as though you are saying that Ukraine can help the EU get out of the economic problems we are in. Really? Are you sure?

    1. Dear Not a blogger!
      First of all, thank you for your attention to my blog and the questions you’ve asked.
      In answering them, I would like to note the following.
      1. The modern world is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to predict what is going to happen in 3-5 years, let alone two decades. Hardly anyone would dare to predict today with any confidence what the European Union will be like in 20 years. Some authoritative experts question whether the EU will even be able to outlive the current crisis. However, I remain optimistic and believe that Europe will remain as an integrated entity but perhaps with borders that stretch from Lisbon to Vladivostok and that Ukraine will take a central position within this entity.
      2. Indeed, English is not my mother tongue. However, I asked my translator and in this case the word I used was precise. This same word is also highlighted in the title of the post. A «perspective platform», i.e., a platform which can provide a powerful and tangible contribution to the future development of the European Union. That is explained in paragraphs 6 and 7 of my post and includes the geopolitical location, natural resources, manpower resources, scientific potential, and on the other side the attraction of European technological innovation into our economy after all Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe and it remains virtually untapped in modern terms.

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