GMF’s Warsaw Office partnered with the Representation of the European Commission in Poland, the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation, and the UK Embassy in Poland to organize an expert seminar titled: Ukraine between Russia and the EU: What's the way forward? The seminar took place at the European Commission in Warsaw on November 5, 2012.
The aim of the project was to provide a detailed commentary on the Ukrainian parliamentary elections, which took place a week before, on October 28, 2012 and produced a diversified political scene. The lack of clarity of the election process and results, exemplified by slow announcements of voter turnout, and strong reactions from the opposition, produced a very complicated and blurred picture with shortcomings, suggesting that Ukraine might be at the brink of political crisis.
The project featured three sessions in which a different discussion panel of experts debated the electoral process, possible post-electoral scenarios and gave their remarks on areas of policy improvement.
The first session provided interesting insider views from a group of Ukrainian members of the Parliament who took part in the election process. Some claimed that there was no serious misuse of legal procedures, while others pointed out that double standards were observed. Issues such as administrative pressure on candidates, unbalanced media coverage and flawed electoral law were mentioned. A proportion of the public demands that the election is dismissed and those responsible for violations are taken to court.
The second session concentrated on future scenarios in Ukraine. There is a possibility that no palpable changes would be seen in a number of areas, i.e. governance, question of selective justice and Rada (Ukrainian Parliament), which would remain relatively redundant. A different scenario assumes that authorities work harder to retain a simple majority in the Rada. Thirdly, it is possible that the economic conditions remain benign, because authorities would have to face up to hard choices, especially related to energy. In general, it is impossible to predict the authorities’ next steps and that the ability of opposition to compete in the new system has decreased dramatically. The realistic option assumes, however, that internationally, Ukraine will remain isolated in-between the EU and Eurasian structures.
The final session discussed recommendations of policy areas for improvement. The main areas identified as requiring consideration were: electoral law, anti-discrimination law, migration policies and bringing the Ukrainian economy to EU standards. It was remarked that the signature of the accession agreement is extremely important for Ukraine, because signing the agreement would mean that EU and Ukraine have already made their choice against Russia.