VVD in Kyiv
Members of the liberal VVD, the Dutch People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, visited Kyiv from 28-31 March: Messrs Frank van Kappen, Member of the Senate; Maarten Smit, MP and candidate for the EP; Lennart Salemink, MP; and Wouter Schroer, International Officer.
On the 29th, Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation Kyiv brought them together with representatives of civil society and academia Professor Olexei Haran of Mohyla University and member of the EuroMaidan Board; Ihor Kohut, Director of the Ukrainian School of Political Studies and Chairman of the Board of the Laboratory for Legislative Initiatives; Maxim Kolesnikov, Head of the Training Department of the Ukrainian party “Democrats”; and Juri Mindiuk of the civil sector of EuroMaidan.
The Ukrainians stated clearly Ukraine’s current dilemma of facing enormous and urgent tasks, amongst which establishing a new political culture based on programmatic substance and transparency, while there was little to no time for reforms.
As for the international community, Mr Frank van Kappen highlighted the importance of bringing together a value-based and interest-based rationale in politics and the need to draw boundaries vis¬-à-vis the Kremlin’s latest actions.
He also warned of identity politics, which he explained are easily misused for strategic games and lead to misery. The overarching identity in his liberal view must point to the fact that all citizens are free women and men.
The message of the Ukrainian participants to Europe was:
• Short-cuts are needed in the particular dilemma Ukraine is currently facing, specifically, the explicit prospect of EU membership;
• Europe needs to pay permanent attention to reforms being tackled and implemented;
• People-to-people contacts are crucial.
Last but not least, the Dutch politicians, whose party is in the European ALDE family, were asked to promote the usefulness of open party lists in Ukraine, so that the electorate can influence which politicians they would like to entrust with responsibilities.