The Europe-Ukraine Forum
Günter Verheugen, Former Vice-President of European Commission, Germany Hanna Herman, Deputy Chai , Administration of President of Ukraine
become a hostage to the American-Russian reset. In 1991, Ukraine was in a tough position. There was no state core in the political elite. Moreover, 20 years ago Ukra- ine had no development strategy and lots of decisions were made by trail and error. The former President reminded attendees that the rst constitution of Ukraine was adopted in the fth year of its independence, and the Ukrainian hryvnia was intro- duced in 1996. “I often compare Ukraine to Poland and Russia. The problem is that contrary to our neighbours we had no Tsars, Kings or Commanders-in- Chief who could reinforce our State system. When we regained indepen- dence, we started from scratch,” he said. The former Commissioner of the European Commission for EU Enlar- gement, Günter Verheugen, mentio- ned negotiations with Ukraine and discussed the problem of the lack of understanding of the problems of Ukraine in Western Europe. “When I returned from Kiev to Brussels and said that Ukraine is a European co- untry and has the right to integrate, I was criticised; the EU bureaucrats said again that Ukraine is too big and too poor,”stated Verheugen.
oreover, Günter Verheugen ran down the lack of political courage in the EU now. “EU enlargement to the East has never been popular with the old EU, but the political leadership should create public opinion. Nowadays, we have no real leadership, the European elite lacks courage. Enlargement is not a prio- rity any more, and I cannot understand that,”stated Verheugen. M T he Fifth Europe-Ukraine Forum gathered approximately 400 participants in Kiev, of whom 150 came from abroad.