Bernard-Henri Lévy: Ukraine is one of the beating hearts of Europe

Author : Elina Beketova

Respondent : Bernard-Henri Lévy

Source : 112 Ukraine

French public intellectual and journalist on France-Ukraine relations, Normandy Format, Brexit, and place of Ukraine in Europe
18:57, 20 September 2017


112 Agency

Bernard-Henri Lévy, French public intellectual, author, journalist, and filmmaker, spoke to the 112 Ukraine TV channel's Elina Beketova on the sidelines of the YES conference, which took place in Kyiv on September 15. In his exclusive interview, he speaks of the importance of Ukraine for Europe and that the Frenchmen do not realize it.

Related: YES conference in kicks off in Kyiv - online broadcast

The series of interviews 112 International Insight introduces the viewpoint of influential Western experts, who are the source of a new, fresh point of view, different from the one of the Ukrainian experts, who usually comment on the current situation.

“I hear the word ‘Ukraine’ not often enough. Frenchmen do not realize how important Ukraine is for Europe. Ukraine is one of the beating hearts of Europe, and it is not known enough. What is the current situation in Europe? The UK is stepping out of Europe. Departure of UK is a big loss for us. Ukraine is knocking the door and could step in. I would be tempted to say ''Goodbye the UK, welcome Ukraine!'. This is what I would like to say to my French fellow citizens, and this is what I would like to hear more often,” Bernard-Henri Lévy confessed.

Related: Ukraine through the eyes of Ukrainians and foreigners: Top 7 Quotes

He said that the EU must expect Ukraine when he was asked such question.

“This is so because Ukraine, first of all is very important country and it consists 10% of the European population, secondly you have a great wealth, spiritual wealth, you believe in Europe. We do not believe in Europe so much as you, the new Europeans, do. You believe in Europe, in the values that we already do not believe in. And thirdly look at the map: what is the best shield to prevent the Russian troops of Putin to enter our space and what is the best buffer? Ukraine is the best shield, a natural border; this is a defense of Europe. This is a reason for the Europeans to be friendlier and warmer to the Ukrainians than they are. We need Ukraine in the EU more that Ukraine needs Europe,” he claimed.

Related: Council of Europe criticizes xenophobia in Ukraine

Speaking about changing Normandy Four negotiations after Macron won as a president, Mr. Lévy said that its general policy line would not change: “Normandy Format was invented by President Hollande, a true friend of Ukraine. But I believe that Macron would also be a good friend of Ukraine. Next week, Macron to meet Poroshenko in New York, and I hope that the friendship between our two countries would strengthen.”

“The most significant thing not is to stop shedding blood, taking lives. Too many Ukrainian boys have lost their lives, and too many Ukrainian families are overflown with sorrow and grief,” he added.

Related: Ukraine fatigue is gripping Western Europe

Mr. Lévy noted that Ukraine’s friends and France could help to maintain peace in the country: “I personally hope that France could be a part of peacekeeping solution of those parts, which are raped and violated by your Russian neighbor.”

Yalta European Strategy (YES) was founded by businessmen Viktor Pinchuk in 2004 and usually took place in the Livadia Palace in Yalta but after the annexation of Crimea, it was relocated to the capital of Ukraine. Opening of 14th YES meeting took place at the Besarabsky Market in the downtown of Kyiv for the first time. YES meetings have brought together heads of state and government such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Bill Clinton, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Bronisław Komorowski, Mario Monti, Shimon Peres and Donald Trump. This year the partakers of the forum have concentrated on such global issues as the shifts in the geopolitical allocation of forces and changes in the global economy.

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