Pat Cox, an Irish politician, former President of the European Parliament and a former member of the European Parliament spoke of Brexit and Ukraine’s transition from a Soviet republic to a European modern Ukraine in his exclusive interview to the 112 Ukraine TV channel's Elina Beketova on the sidelines of the YES conference, which took place in Kyiv on September 15.
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.
Speaking about challenges of the European Union, migration crisis, Brexit, and Euro optimism, Pat Cox assumes that this year his answers are more optimistic than the last year’s: “Several things are working in favor of the EU this year. This includes that in the past 12 months, every European economy has positive economic growth, growth in employment. It is striving in the right direction. French elections results – many feared, they could be very different; because of the Dutch elections results, German results – anticipated as they are… In a strong sense this is a new mood of self-confidence rather than self-doubt in the EU.”
“There is a commitment to consider reforming some things, fixing some things that were broken, trying to perfect some things – that is a very big agenda. It would not happen all in one day. That is a mood change,” Mr. Cox noted.
“I would say that Brexit and (in a different way) the election of Donald Trump, when appeared a year ago, appeared, perhaps, to be a risk. It could affect Europe and cause more disintegration. This year, my interpretation of the passage of the year is that the unifying forces of the EU are standing closer together rather than pushing them further apart,” he claimed.
“The county with problem about Brexit is the UK. The divisions in the government about whether they want to have “hard” Brexit or “soft” Brexit, long or short transition, to pay some exit fees of not,” the politician added.
He also noted that EU in 2017 is unified and has a united sight on the priorities. The EP with a majority of voted has passed a resolution before the states adopted the unanimous decision. “So the EU-2017 has the high level of unity. And British political system has a considerable level of diversity. So this is not the EU that has some problems, but rather Britain has a problem. And the EU at the moment exhibits a high level of unity,” Mr. Pox said.
The former President of the European Parliament also has voiced a recipe for Ukraine of how to fight against MPs-shirkers (who do not come to the Verkhovna Rada, and there are no enough votes to adopt some law or make some other decision). “I think that the recipe is in the hands of the Ukrainian citizens. Media and civil society should name and shame, should keep on account who comes and who fails to come. And at the next elections the citizens should vote accordingly. And that seems to be the ultimate sanction. The other element here is that Ukraine is undergoing a transition from the old Ukraine with its post-Soviet dimension to more open and European modern Ukraine, and it requires changing culture in the parliament itself… Give citizens the information, show them the record, and ask them to think: who do they want to represent them.”
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.