Ukraine is for Slovakia an important neighbour not only from the point of view of its security interests, but Ukraine is the potential important trade partner of Slovakia as well. The development of the cooperation with Ukraine belongs to the priorities of the foreign policy of Slovakia in the framework of European Union and NATO as well. The foreign policy of Ukraine, its integration ambitions and bilateral Slovak-Ukrainian relations are the topic of our interview with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Slovak Republic Inna Ohnivets.
How do you assess the current level of Ukrainian-Slovak relations? In what way is it possible to improve them?
First of all I’d like to put in that there are no problems between our states. That’s also the reason why our interstate relations have been developing dynamically in a spirit of mutual respect and good neighbourhood. The current stage of the bilateral relations development is characterised by a high degree of constructive partnership in all fields of political, economic and humanitarian cooperation. The top-level political dialogue has been intensified, which has a decisive influence on the filling up of bilateral relations with a concrete content.
Foreign trade turnover between Ukraine and the Slovak Republic has been growing perpetually. In the course of 2007, the entire foreign trade turnover exceeded one billion dollars. Indisputably, there are certain reserves particularly as for the transit of energy bearers in the area of power engineering and cross-border collaboration.
How has the Schengen room enlargement affected the bilateral Ukrainian-Slovak relations?
Down the centuries, our nations have been linked not only by friendly relations and industrial ones but also by family ties. A large Ukrainian minority has been living in Slovak border area and vice versa. That’s why bilateral contacts between our countries have always been intensive. It’s incontestable that the imposing of the Schengen regime of border crossing has complicated these relations for Ukrainian citizens, although it hasn’t had a negative impact on bilateral Ukrainian-Slovak relations as well as the relations with other EU members. The agreement on visa regime simplification for Ukrainian citizens between Ukraine and the EU signed in June 2007, which took effect on 1st January, 2008, attests to this. In accordance with this agreement many categories of Ukrainian citizens will be granted one- or five-year multiple visa. The agreement regulates also the granting of free visa to a whole range of Ukrainian citizens’ categories. Apart from this the Agreement between Ukraine and the Slovak Republic on Local Cross-border Contact, the official conclusion of which is due in the foreseeable future, was signed preliminarily in December last year. This agreement will grant Ukrainian citizens living in the 50-kilometre border zone the right to move in the territory of Slovak Republic within the 50-kilometre border zone without visa just with the permission for local cross-border contact. Our countries strive to solve positively also other, shall we say, technological issues, for instance, the reconstruction of existent border crossings and their increase in number. Therefore we expect that the joint border will keep on uniting our nations and states, not dividing them.
Nowadays, negotiations between Ukraine and the European Union on the new reinforced Agreement Ukraine – the EU are under way. How would you characterise the course of the negotiation?
Firstly, I’d like to draw the attention to the last year’s achievements of Ukraine in terms of the relations with the EU. This pertains particularly to political dialogue. We met all criteria according to the schedule of political dialogue between Ukraine and the EU on the top as well as expert level. All fundamental events were conducted according to the plan. Each of them bore concrete results. This holds true for: the Ukraine – EU Summit (14th September, 2007, in Kyiv) attended by the President of Ukraine, on the basis of its results a wide range of important documents were endorsed; the Ukraine – EU Council for Cooperation (18th June, 2007, in Brussels) attended by the Prime Minister of Ukraine in terms of which the agreement between Ukraine and the EU on the simplification of visa regime as well as agreements between Ukraine and the EU on the readmission of persons were signed; the Ukraine – EU Cooperation Committee (20th November, 2007, in Brussels) attended by the Economy Minister of Ukraine during which a crucial agreement on joint assessment of the fulfilment of the Ukraine – EU Action Plan of 21st February, 2005, which is due at the beginning of next year, was concluded; the Ukraine – EU Troika session of Foreign Affairs Ministers (6th February, 2007, in Kyiv) attended by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Ukraine at which the beginning of the negotiation process between Ukraine and the EU was announced officially. The year 2007 became the period of the growth of the quantitative dimension of bilateral collaboration in the area of joint foreign and security policy. I’m positive that within a short space of time we’ll become witnesses to the transition of quantitative changes to the qualitative ones. According to the last year’s results Ukraine has strengthened its image of a reliable EU partner in the field of international peace and stability support. The process of Ukrainian assimilation to EU stance on regional problems and the questions of international life continued. Thus Ukraine joined 488 out of 532 EU requests and appeals. The permanent participation of Ukrainian personnel in the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the purposefulness of Ukrainian participation in other EU operations (Chad, Central African Republic) has been researched. In 2007, there was further intensification of business relations between Ukraine and the European Union, bilateral foreign business turnover and the amount of direct foreign investments from EU countries in Ukrainian economy rose. The EU share of the overall volume of Ukrainian foreign trade in goods and services amounted to 33.5 per cent according to the results of the nine months of the year 2007 (i.e. one third of foreign-economic Ukrainian activities are orientated towards this market). The supplies of Ukrainian metallurgical, textile as well as agricultural production to the EU were increased. The total increment of direct foreign investments in the period of nine months in 2007 accounted for 5.24 billion dollars out of which 4.54 billion dollars came from EU member states. The share of investments from EU countries in the total investment volume in Ukraine amounts to approximately 80 per cent. Ukrainian entry into WTO enabled both sides to commence an official negotiation on the establishment of an extended Ukraine – EU free trade zone.
The existent Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed in 1994 certainly doesn’t reflect current situation and the potential of our cooperation any longer. Ukrainian objective is to sign principally different document which will consider the whole of aspects of the relations between Ukraine and the EU including the efforts to integrate our state into the EU in the future. At the very beginning, Ukraine declared that it strived to sign an ambitious and innovative document based on the principles of political association and economic integration.
What does it mean from the point of view of Ukraine?
Political association presupposes further strengthening of the common values of democracy, law sovereignty and the respect for human rights in Ukraine to those levels which are pushed through in the European Union. Another precondition is the further reconciliation of Ukrainian and EU stances as for international questions. Economic integration stands for the gradual integration of Ukraine into European Union joint market that begins with the establishment of a free trade zone and ends with the acquisition of Ukrainian share in EU single market. This corresponds indisputably to the interests of Ukrainian manufacturers and consumers, however, to those of European ones too.
After finishing all internal preparation procedures in connection with the negotiation process dated 6th February, 2007, the official start of negotiations on the signing of a new strengthened agreement was announced on the basis of the results of the Ukraine – EU Troika session of Foreign Affairs Ministers. In the course of 2007, Ukrainian and EU delegations held five rounds of negotiations. According to the results of four rounds the sides prepared a joint report which was endorsed at the 11th Ukraine – EU Summit in Kyiv on 14th September, 2007.
During previous negotiation rounds, what were the variances in the stances of Ukraine and the EU like?
During previous negotiation rounds continued the processing of the political shape of future relations between Ukraine and the EU in the context of negotiation process on the signing of a new strengthened agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Ukrainian side was intent on building future relations on the principles of political association and economic integration. Ukraine is also for the insertion of the provision on the prospect of our state’s EU membership into the wording of the new strengthened agreement. The President of Ukraine V. Yushchenko is convinced that the new strengthened agreement with the EU will be “an innovative document reflecting mutual interests and setting ambitious goals of the political association and economic integration of Ukraine.”
Main political parties in Ukraine declare that their aim is the integration of Ukraine into the EU. Is there a general consensus as for this question within the Ukrainian society? Is the integration into the European Union an achievable goal in your opinion? When can this come true?
Ukraine is an integral part of Europe and it surely sees its future in united Europe. As for this question there is general consensus among main political subjects as well as the inhabitants of our country two thirds of whose speak in favour European integration. The Ukrainian President V. Youshchenko stated that Ukraine heads purposefully towards full integration into European and Euroatlantic structures. In cooperation with the European Union Ukraine has set up the Action Plan and precisely defined stages: the fulfilment of the Ukraine – EU Action Plan, successful negotiations on the signing of the new strengthened agreement with the EU on the inclusion of the principles of political association and economic integration into the EU, the securing of efficient fulfilment of the new Ukraine – EU agreement, the establishment of common free trade zone, the establishment of visa-free regime zone and the full Ukrainian membership of the European Union. As the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister W. Ohryzko pointed out, Ukraine is aware of the fact that it’s not conceivable to omit any of the steps leading to joint European house and that there is nobody to construct “a special lift to the EU” exclusively for Ukraine. The speed of the shift towards the Ukraine’s ultimate objective, namely the joining of the EU, depends on the speed of the overcoming of all barriers.
Slovakia often declared its support of Ukrainian efforts to integrate in the EU. Is this support sufficient according to you?
As for the European and Euroatlantic integration efforts of Ukraine, we really appreciate the political support of the Slovak Republic. Ukrainian side is very grateful to Slovakia for handing down its practical experience of its entry into the EU and NATO. Slovakia’s support of the European integration of Ukraine is a multi-level one. For example, in the period of two years, one of the concrete initiatives has been the realisation of the joint document called Slovak-Ukrainian Cooperation in terms of the fulfilment of the Ukraine – EU Action plan.
In a letter to the NATO Secretary General the top representatives of the Ukrainian state expressed their interest in joining the NATO membership Action Plan at the future North Atlantic Bloc summit in Bucharest. The reaction of the opposition was negative. Is it possible to reach a consensus on this question? Are you afraid of the destabilisation of inner situation in the country? One has to bear in mind the moods of the inhabitants of Crimea where protests against NATO were held already in 2006.
In the course of long collaboration with NATO, our state has achieved a lot. Ukraine became the member of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council as one of the first countries of the former USSR. It joined the Partnership for Peace program as the first state. We succeeded in inserting into the Charter on Special Partnership between Ukraine and NATO such provisions like the openness of the Alliance to Ukraine, the support of the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, its territorial integrity, democratic development and the establishment of still functional mechanism for political consultations. In 2003, we included the question of Ukrainian orientation towards NATO membership on a legislative level. Ukraine is the only partner state of the Alliance which takes part in four peace and anti-terrorist operations under the umbrella of NATO. Ukraine – NATO Target Plans for the years 2007 and 2008 approach the Membership Action Plan through their structure and contents as much as possible. These ideas are pronounced by NATO member states themselves. They esteem highly Ukrainian achievements during the reforming of the country, its participation in peace missions led by the Alliance and the entire spectrum of collaboration with the organisation in general.
Unfortunately, to this day the level of the knowledge of NATO is rather low among Ukrainian public. According to sociologic researches more than half of Ukrainian citizens admit that they lack sufficient information about NATO activities and the cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance.
That’s why the Government’s as well as political forces’ endeavour should be aimed at explanation that the Membership Action Plan doesn’t mean the guarantee of membership at all and that it is just a reinforced and more concrete variant of collaboration. The Membership Action Plan for Ukraine is to 90 per cent a plan for the reforming of Ukrainian political system and the other 10 per cent pertain to security, military, legal and other matters. In general, all this is connected with Ukrainian preparation for the attainment of the level of current European democracies.
As regards Ukrainian plans to enter NATO Russia threatened that it would re-assess its relations with Ukraine. What consequences can this have for Ukraine?
When looking back we may see that Russia didn’t welcome Euroatlantic ambitions of its former allies in the socialistic camp, namely Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and other, either. The same holds true as far as Russian attitude to the possible NATO membership of the Baltic republics is concerned. However, today we may see that relations with new NATO member states have been improved from the viewpoint of policy and economy after the last two enlargements. We are convinced that this will be the case of Ukraine too. Besides this, according to experts the current cooperation between Russia and NATO is even more intensive as for particular areas than between Ukraine and the Alliance.
It is only necessary to comprehend that Ukrainian entry into NATO isn’t aimed against third countries. Ukrainian-Russian relations will carry on developing on the principles of mutual respect, advantages and good neighbourhood. Euroatlantic efforts of our country pose by no means a threat to the national security of Russia. At last Ukrainian entry into NATO is advantageous also for Russia.
It is well known that the goal of our integration into the Alliance is primarily the reinforcement of Ukraine’s security which is supposed to result in the reinforcement of security also around Ukraine. I’m convinced that predictable and thoughtful foreign policy of neighbour countries fully corresponds to Russian interests. After all, it’s advantageous for Russia to border on a stable and economically developed democracy. I expect that within a short space of time it is this notion which will dominate not only among Russian leadership but also within the civil society of this state.
The Russian Embassy in Kyiv fulfilled the function of a NATO contact embassy in Ukraine in 2007. How do you assess its work?
It’s known that the initiative according to which the Embassy of the Slovak Republic to Ukraine is supposed to have the function of NATO contact embassy in the period from 2007 to 2008 rests with Slovakia. Ukrainian side is most grateful to Slovakia for the handing down of its rich experience of its entry into the EU and NATO. At this point worth mentioning are not only stints arranged for our public servants and journalists with the aim of studying Slovak experiences, but also the events which were conducted and will be conducted by the Slovak Embassy in Kyiv with the aim of improving the spread of objective information about NATO activities and Ukrainian collaboration with the Alliance among the inhabitants of Ukraine.
After the Orange Revolution, GUAM commenced its activities. What is the condition of the development of this association like in the current stage? How about the prospects of its development?
The Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development GUAM is an international regional organisation the conceptual basis of which is formed particularly by the collaboration among its member states on the construction of Eurasian Transcaucasian transport corridor. Guam isn’t aimed against anybody. It reflects the objective tendency of the development of regional international cooperation as one of the current reforms of the globalisation and internationalisation of the world. Eight task forces work in GUAM. They’re focused on the questions of economy and trade, power engineering, transport, culture, science and education system, tourism, the fight against terrorism and organised crime and drug trafficking, information technologies and emergency events.
There are also other mechanism for political and branch cooperation in the organisation. This pertains primarily to the coordination of all GUAM member countries in terms of international organisations and mechanisms for their collaboration on the basis of relevant agreements, like the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Consular Matters or Protocol for the Cooperation of Border Resorts.
Apart from this, according to the GUAM – USA Framework Program solely two independent projects have been realised, i.e. the GUAM Virtual Centre for the fight against terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and other crimes, into which the GUAM Interstate Information-Analytical System is integrated and the Project GUAM on the support of trade and transport.
The number of international organisations has been growing within which the coordination of GUAM member states is carried out on the basis of common plans drafted by their permanent representations to relevant international organisations. Nowadays, such coordination has been carried out in terms of the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, international organisations in Geneva and the CIS.
The contacts and partner relations of GUAM with other international organisations, individual states as well as state groupings including the US, Baltic countries, Japan and the EU have been developed. Thirteen meetings having the formats GUAM-USA, the Councils of the GUAM Head of the States-Poland and the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers-Japan have been held since 2001. That means that in the period of almost ten years of its existence GUAM proved its viability. I’m convinced that we’ve been awaiting lots of mutually advantageous projects and the extension of fruitful collaboration with other countries and international organisations in the future.
The GUAM representatives expressed their interest in the development of cooperation with the Visegrád Group. Was their effort successful? In which fields could this cooperation be realised?
It’s really so. Last year, just here in Bratislava two meetings of the Ambassadors of GUAM members states accredited in Slovakia with the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Slovak Republic Mr Ján Kubiš were held. During these meetings, we informed Mr Kubiš about the activities of ODER-GUAM and we also negotiated the prospects of the cooperation in the formats GUAM + Slovakia, GUAM + Visegrád Group and GUAM + the EU. We’re positive that the start of such cooperation has great prospects, predominantly as far as the establishment of the Eurasian transport corridor and the diversification of the sources of energy supplies to Slovakia and other V-4 states as well as Western Europe are concerned. Extraordinary prospects has also the joint coordinated activity in the field of the fight against terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking etc.
To what extent is the issue of the so-called frozen conflicts the subject of the interest of Ukrainian foreign policy? How do you assess Ukrainian activities in the mission EUBAM on the borders with Moldova?
On 14th November 2007, the Kyiv Security Forum began to operate in Ukraine. The impetus for its inception was highly appreciated by our foreign partners. The first event to be held in terms of this forum was the International Conference on the Frozen Conflicts Solution in the context of security and stability in the Black Sea region which took place on 15th November, 2007. The choice of the topic was conditioned by the fact that the issue of the strengthening of security and stability in the Black Sea region was considered by Ukraine one of the priorities of its foreign policy and its voting within the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in particular. In our opinion, it is the existence of the so-called frozen or unsettled conflicts which is one of the severest barriers on the way to the full development of regional economic cooperation in the Black Sea region.
Vast international representation and active discussions held during the conference have confirmed again that the Black Sea region is in the focus of interest of the top leaders in global relations and its role as the important geo-strategic territory, through which energy transport routes and Eurasian trade routes lead, has been growing. Conference attendants concurred that the peace settlement of frozen conflicts is a crucial precondition for security and the sustainable development of the Black Sea region as well as Europe and its surrounds.
As far as Ukrainian activities in the EUBAM mission are concerned, by inviting the EU mission Ukraine manifested the openness and readiness for the collaboration with European structures in terms of the securing of Ukrainian-Moldovan borders, the Transnistrian stretch in particular. Our common objective is to do everything necessary for the enhancement of the existent system of border control, to make it more efficient and resist negative phenomena on the Ukrainian-Moldovan borders. Ukraine is satisfied with work results and counts on further coordination. Relying on this the Ukrainian Government adopted the decision on the exercise of its mandate for next two years till 2009, which corresponds to the new level of mutual relations between Ukraine and the EU.
With regard to this I’d like to confirm that Ukraine approves of the optimisation of the mission’s activities. We count on a substantial support of the EU with the aim of founding new projects on technical equipment and the development of infrastructure and technical equipment of borders. We are sure that this will contribute to the reinforcement of security in the region and the entire arrangement of Transnistria. We’ll keep on acting in accordance with our agreements with the European Commission and the Republic of Moldova in the spirit of maximal openness and we’ll do our level best so that the mission is successful and the Ukrainian-Moldovan border meets top European norms and standards.
Ukraine strives to diversify the sources of energy bearers supplies. To what degree is it successful?
It is important not only for Ukraine but also for all European countries to secure the diversification of energy bearers supplies since the possibility of alternative supplies is first and foremost the question of energy security. An important result of the coordination between Ukraine and the EU within power engineering might be the realisation of the project on Eurasian Oil Transport Corridor (EAOTC) which presupposes the integration of Ukrainian and East European oil transport systems for the supplies of Caspian oil through the pipeline Odessa – Brody – Plock to European market. The Government of the Slovak Republic upholds also the realisation of the EAOTC project which is supposed to shrink the dependence of the Slovak Republic on unilateral energy bearers supplies. In the Energy Security Strategy of the Slovak Republic is underscored the interest of Slovakia in alternative possibilities of oil supplies to European countries among whose is also the supply of Caspian oil to Western Europe via the Družba oil pipeline through Slovak territory.
Sea oil pipeline terminal Pivdennyj and the oil pipeline Odessa – Brody which represent the Ukrainian part of the project EAOTC were built with the aim of diversifying the routes of energy materials supplies to Ukraine and Europe. The first part of the corridor, with the oil transporting capacity of around 14.5 million tonnes annually, has been already put into operation. After finishing the construction of the whole complex the technological system capacity is to reach 45 million tonnes of oil per annum. The commercial operation of the Odessa – Brody oil pipeline began in the end of autumn 2004. In accordance with the agreements concluded by Ukrtransnafta joint stock company the oil transport is directed to the oil terminal Pivdennyj from which its is carried by oil tankers to the Mediterranean market. In 2004, about one million tonnes of oil were transported through the oil pipeline Odessa – Brody in a standby mode, in 2005 it was 5.8 million tonnes, in 2006, the amount was 3.4 million tonnes of oil and in 2007, 9.1 million tonnes of oil. This means that Ukraine has been continually extending the technological basis for the diversification of the sources of energy materials supplies and is ready to carry out transit projects in a larger extent than neighbouring European countries.
In order to pump Caspian oil from Ukraine to European countries constantly, concrete agreements between suppliers and processors are necessary. Prerequisite is also the preparation of the Slovak part of the Družba oil pipeline for the pumping of diverse sorts of oil, for instance, the installation of state-of-the-art controlling and measuring instruments in order to secure high pumping quality and the construction of additional tanks for oil storage.
What is the present situation like as regards the negotiations on the utilisation of the Odessa – Brody oil pipeline in direct mode for the supplies of this raw material to Europe?
During the meeting of the Ukrainian President V. Youshchenko and the President of the Slovak Republic I. Gašparovič in Uzhhorod on 14th January, a political agreement on the conduction of an experiment was reached. Within this experiment, 20,000 tonnes of light Caspian oil are supposed to be pumped through the Odessa – Brody oil pipeline and the system of oil pipelines Družba through the territory of Slovakia into the oil processing facility Kralupy (the Czech Republic). At present, the President and the PM of Ukraine have been assessing the drafts of two oil processing facilities in Eastern Ukraine and their readiness to utilise the Odessa – Brody oil pipeline in direct mode for the transport and processing of approximately five million tonnes of oil annually. Both facilities have spent considerable investment sources with the aim of stepping up the quality of oil products to meet European standards and fulfilling the production modernisation schedule endorsed by the Ministry of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine. Ukrtransnafta joint stock company is charged with analysing the oil processors’ drafts from the viewpoint of the conclusion of the agreements on oil transport in direct mode through the Odessa – Brody oil pipeline.
Headed by the Ukrainian Minister of Fuel and Energy Y. Prodan a briefing on the conduction of the project on the Caspian oil transport to European and global markets through the Eurasian Oil Transport Corridor was held on 21st January, 2008. At the briefing, a decision was adopted according to which the collaboration with Slovak and Czech side on the finishing of the experiment regarding the transport of diverse oil sorts to Czech oil processing facilities would go on.
Ukrainian opposition promotes the granting of the status of second official language to the Russian language in Ukraine. Similar situation is in Belarus at present. Nowadays, what is the stance on the position of the Russian language in Ukraine among Russian-speaking inhabitants?
Absolutely nobody will doubt that every state solves the issue of the use of official language and the development of other languages in the country independently. In accordance with the Ukrainian Constitution (Article 10) the Ukrainian language is the official language in the country. The Constitution guarantees at the same time the free development, use and protection of the Russian language and other languages of ethnic minorities. By the way, as far as this question is concerned, Ukraine adheres to the stance analogous to that one of the Russian Federation where the existence of a single official language is confirmed legislatively (even under the conditions of federative state system). As for the granting of the status of an official language in Ukraine to the Russian language and the decision to grant the Russian language the status of a regional language in its territory, which was adopted by several district and municipal councils of Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine, it is necessary to observe that the regional, district and municipal councils of some Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine overstepped their authority by granting the Russian language such status. This question is to be regulated by special laws which cannot be the subject matter of a decision made by municipal authorities. Illegitimate are also the references of municipal authorities, which adopted such decisions, to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. The Charter doesn’t define the status of this or that language used in the country but solely the measures to protect it if necessary. I’d also like to express myself briefly to the alleged growing discrimination of the Russian language in Ukraine and to the protection of the rights of Russian-speaking population in the context of the decrease of schools with Russian as the language of instruction. In Ukraine, there are unlimited conditions for the preservation and development of Russian culture, the Russian language in particular. For example, more than 40 per cent of all country’s periodicals are issued in Russian. There are programs of the Public Russian Television broadcasted in Ukraine. Apart from this, radio and television shows in the Russian language represent, depending on the region, from 5 to 90 per cent of the whole range of regional state television companies’ broadcast. 31 universities throughout the country prepare experts in the Russian language and literature. Russian as the language of instruction is learned by 1.5 million pupils. Literary fund in the Russian language is composed of more than 60 million units. In my opinion, these mentioned instances attest to the fact that the statements about alleged Russian language discrimination growth in Ukraine are unjustified.
Ukraine, along with Poland, has been making preparations for the hosting of EURO 2012 football championship. At what stage are preparations for the championship in Ukraine? What is the development of cooperation with Poland like? Is the football championship the goal that should unite Ukrainian nation which is divided by political conflicts?
As it is known, Ukraine and Poland have been chosen to host EURO 2012 Football Championship jointly. The President as well as the Government of Ukraine, which confirmed the new structure of the organisation committee headed by the Prime Minister Y. Tymoshenko, pay attention to the problem of its hosting. The Priority Tasks Plan for EURO 2012 Football Championship has been endorsed. It defines the amount of the duties of each ministry as well as executive bodies and the personal responsibility of every chief executive of profile ministries and state administration bodies for the preparation. Ukrainian cities confirmed readiness to the organization of the football championship and the same view is shared by UEFA as well. The question of tender for the participation of foreign consultants is to be assessed by 1st March this year. It is also supposed that the Annual Measures Plan for EURO 2012 will be endorsed on 13th February this year. The National Agency for the Preparation and Organisation of EURO 2012 has been established as the central body of executive power. Its activities are coordinated by the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers. In host towns except for Kyiv, football stadiums have been built (Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk – as a reserve) or construction projects have been finished (Lviv, also Charkov and Odessa – as a reserve). The organisers’ attention and endeavour are focused on such issues like security, logistics, investments, infrastructure and medicine. According to the experts’ evaluation the securing of the relevant infrastructure development for EURO 2012 requires high capital deposits. In this connection the question of investments is extraordinarily topical. This is a common problem for Ukraine as well as Poland which also needs to arrange infrastructure and deal with the lack of hotels. Our neighbours are better off as far as motorways and motorway construction are concerned. At this point it is important to remark that, for instance, for the construction of transit infrastructure the Zhytomyr Oblast plans to take more than 200 supplemental measures to arrange infrastructure. The overall costs will account for 7.3 million hryvnias. Problematic questions are solved too. An agreement has been reached between the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the company Eugene on the dismantling of the business leisure centre Trojicky near the National Sports Complex Olympijsky in Kyiv by 1st July this year.
This is just a concise list of organisation measures which Ukraine is to take in the course of the preparation for EURO 2012. Finally, I’d like to draw attention to one thing, namely the prospect of the hosting of European championship which is another confirmation of the fact that Ukraine is perceived to be European country capable of making economic leap within the time that remains till the start of EURO 2012.
In this connection I have to emphasise that politicians and society representatives put a lot of effort in the quest for the idea which could consolidate the state and cut down inner contradictions that are still perceptible within the society. Championship preparations will open the door to consolidation on various levels and the improvement of coordination and collaboration among power branches.
The difference in stereotypes justified by the adherents of diverse political parties is neither to exaggerate nor to underrate. It is exactly these dissensions which are used by some political forces including the foreign ones. This attests to the existence of a breeding ground which sometimes nourishes linguistic and political speculations as well as the distorted interpretation of historical events. In this context Ukraine has got the chance to enfeeble these negative tendencies within the society thank to the prospect of the EURO 2012 project realisation.