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West Wind: If Life’s Like a Box of Chocolate, What’s Ukraine Gonna Get?

Ukraine and the EU voted on 25 May. One week later, the winners and losers of the elections are clear. While many Europeans, seemingly unsatisfied with the current state of affairs in Brussels, voted for the far-right parties, Ukrainians  have expressed once again their wish for European integration. Find out what post-election ‘goodies’ for the Ukrainian electorate – real and imagined –  are featured in the Israeli, American, German and British media.

Roshen filled chocolates, Roshen, source: facebook

Roshen filled chocolates, Roshen, source: facebook

This is the fifth edition of the West Wind series featuring European media voices on the EU’s Eastern neighbours. 

Russian as official EU language

May 26, 2014, Germany – It is not a surprise that an oligarch has come to power in Ukraine, according to the German newspaper taz. The clear vote for Poroshenko, and the bad results of the Svoboda party and the Right Sector movement are a step towards the EU though, upon which the EU has to react now.  European politicians should avoid the mistake of ignoring the needs of Ukrainian people by negotiating the fate of their country with oligarchs alone. To gain the trust of the population in the eastern regions, columnist Bernhard Clasen even suggests that the EU should consider adopting Russian as one of the official languages spoken in the EU.

Formal status as candidate for EU membership

May  27, 2014, US – It is not Ukraine but the EU that has shifted politically to the right, Yale professor Timothy Snyder  points out in The New York Review of Books. Frustrated voters have rejected the European community in favour of the utopian idea of disintegrated nation states advocated by far-right wing parties. Ukraine sent a contrary signal on the same day by giving a clear vote for the pro-European candidate Poroshenko. The perspective to become a EU member in the near future would give a positive incentive to Ukraine to fight corruption and draw international investors to the country. Economic stability at the eastern EU borders as well as the revival of European dream could be balm on the EU’s wounded ego. Ukraine might be the solution to Europe’s problem, Snyder suggests.

Migration hotline

May 27, 2014, Israel – Israel  welcomes the Ukrainian election results. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quotes Zissel, chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine: “The failure of the ultranationalists reflects a reality which we have been trying to represent all the time, despite Russian propaganda’s attempt to portray Ukrainian society as intolerant.” Although the election results do not show an increase of anti-Semitism,  the Jewish Agency for Israel has opened an information hotline for potential emigrants. The immigration rate to Israel has increased significantly during the last months and a Jewish self-defence force has been established in Kyiv. Tzvi Arieli, the founder of the group, expresses his concern that  the Jewish community of Ukraine  ‘’has become a pawn in the fight that pro-Russian separatists have waged against the Ukrainian government.’’

Criminal prosecution of Maidan killers

May 28, 2014, Germany – Spiegel Online reports that activists still assembling on Maidan released a manifesto announcing the terms under which they clear the square. They inform the new major of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, that they won’t leave before all murderers of the killed demonstrators are prosecuted and all corrupt officials are removed from their offices. It’s time for the newly elected to walk the talk and follow up their words with actions.

Free political risk insurance for investors

May 29, 2014, UK – George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, notes in the British Guardian that ‘’the single most effective measure would be to offer free political risk insurance to those who invest in or do business with Ukraine.’’ The insurance would keep the economy stable and at the same time reassure US and EU support in order to counteract Russia’s efforts to push Ukraine into chaos. Read how Soros wants to counter the threat of Putin’s Russia.

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This is the fifth edition of the West Wind series featuring European media voices on the EU’s Eastern neighbours.

#Ukraine

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