07 August 2013

Ukraine and the EU Association Agreement?

Maybe the best article I have seen concerning the relationships between Ukraine and the EU:

James Sherr is Senior Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London, expert on international security of Ukraine, Russia and post-communist states. His fields also include the EU and NATO expansion, as well as energy relations between Kyiv, Moscow and the EU. He is the author of the book Hard Diplomacy and Soft Coercion: Russia’s Influence Abroad out in 2013.

Ukrainian Week: Isn’t the Association Agreement a program of reforms that Ukraine would have to implement?
Who is going to make Ukraine implement it? The past 20 years of relations between the West as a whole and the former Soviet world should persuade anyone that it is simply not possible to micromanage another country from outside it. If Ukraine had in power a government, a group of people, a group of decision makers and a group of people running the economy who really understand how the EU works, are determined to make these transformations and do all these things, then the Association Agreement would be very helpful. But today the political and economic elite of Ukraine do not want to see these changes take place because their power would be threatened by them. They want to maintain the powers they have over economic life, they want maintain the covert and opaque cash flows and rent-seeking.

See the full article here: http://ukrainianweek.com/Politics/86263

03 August 2013

Stay Calm - Leave Ukraine - Often

One of the great benefits of holding an EU/British passport is that we British expats can leave Ukraine whenever we like and return whenever we like (provided we have the correct residents permits). Sometimes we visit the UK and sometimes other countries.

Although Kyiv Ukraine provides a constant stimulus of interests in many ways, the act of leaving the country is therapeutic.  In fact I am now an advocate for encouraging my fellow expats to ‘escape’ at least four times per year. Many of my Ukrainian friends have discovered the benefits of a Schengen visa allowing them to visit many EU countries. On returning to Ukraine they all feel a sense of being ‘recharged’.

Although many foreign businesses and investors are leaving Ukraine there are still many opportunities here. But……the current social and business environment in the country would make anyone want to leave and maybe not return.

I still believe that many business opportunities in Ukraine can be realised. The country still operates on a low cost base. The IT industry in Ukraine has proved to be one of the best ‘nearshoring’ successes in Europe and I’m sure there are many other sectors that will prove successful in providing professional services.