Former Polish President discusses Ukraine’s prospects for EU, NATO
On February 1, 2007, GMF hosted former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski to speak on "Ukraine's Prospects for Membership in the EU and NATO: Perspectives from Poland." Kwasniewski has a long history as president working on Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation and played a leading role in the EU's participation in the Orange Revolution.
Kwasniewski advocated strongly for active engagement with Ukraine. He argued that Ukraine's turn to the West is irreversible and that the challenge is in the short term for Ukrainian politicians to manage the path of integration with Western institutions. Discussing the current situation, he stated that cohabitation between a president and prime minister of different parties should not represent a fundamental problem, noting the histories of governments in France and Poland. He stressed the interests of both the EU and United States in ensuring reform, concluding, "Ukraine is one of the most important countries for peace and security in the North Atlantic area."
Steven Pifer, former-US Ambassador to Ukraine, said he was confident Ukraine will eventually reach their goal, but wondered if they will get there by a hard path or an easy path. He noted the role of Poland in ensuring attention to Ukraine, given that the attention of both the U.S. and EU have turned elsewhere. He warned that an internal focus on power questions in Ukraine might make it difficult for its political parties to agree on Ukraine's broader strategic priorities. He urged continued engagement by NATO and the EU on a free trade agreement if, as expected, Ukraine joins the WTO in the near future.