Kyiv Security Forum

Pawel Kowal: Ukraine should not be compared to Poland

12 April 2019, 19:23

Ukrainian processes have a totally different nature than a mere transition from totalitarianism to democracy. Mr. Pawel Kowal, MP of the European Parliament from Poland for 2009-2014, had spoken about their specificity. He addressed the 12th Kyiv Security Forum, organized by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation.

Mr. Pawel Kowal pointed out that Ukraine is experiencing times that once Germany and Italy had experienced.

"Ukraine should not be compared to Poland, which is often viewed as a model for Ukrainians. Too easy to talk only about "transition to democracy." In the Ukrainian case we are talking about disunion of the country. Therefore, you should rather recall the history of Germany's unification or former Italy. After all, in Ukraine, several processes take place simultaneously - social transformation, search for cultural identification, war, etc. For the first time in history, Ukrainians have a chance to create one united country from different cultural and historical parts," Mr. Pawel Kowal said.

The Polish politician reminded that in recent years, relations between Poland and Ukraine were marked by history. The difference in their approaches are determined the membership of Poland in the European Union, that has its own traditions of discourse. Now, this discourse had changed.

"It is clear that security is the first place. Not only its military component but, for example, security of energy supplies. Secondly, the issue of sanctions against Russia, when Poland had encouraged European governments to continue putting pressure on Moscow. And third, international law, in particular in the context of the Russian aggressive policy in the post-Soviet space. The mentioned aspects will be the main ones after the elections in Ukraine. We are interested in the results of the Ukrainian elections no less than the Ukrainians themselves because they would determine the relationship between our two countries to be continued," Mr. Pawel Kowal believes.

The results of the elections in Ukraine are very important for Europe and the world, the ex-MP of the European Parliament emphasizes because the war affects the entire continent. It is also about the "de-imperialization" of Europe.

"The component of what is called "fatigue from Ukraine", as it was during Kuchma's period or after the Orange Revolution, are no longer present. Now you can’t say that "Ukraine has not changed..." To be honest, the last five years had been marked by successful stories of Ukrainians in the social dimension and the formation of a new political class. The situation has changed dramatically!"

In conclusion, the politician added that the main thing is not to exaggerate the topic of historical relations between Poland and Ukraine.

"We need a more realistic approach - to meet, to communicate. If we have people-to-people contact, this is a guarantee of a relationship," Mr. Pawel Kowal concluded.

The Kyiv Security Forum was established by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation in 2007. A forum is an annual event that acts as a platform for high-level discussion on relevant matters of national security as well as security in the Black Sea region, Europe and the world.