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3 April, 2013 13:00   ▪  

Romano Prodi: Ukraine is perfectly positioned to become a geopolitical and economic bridge between Europe and Russia

“Western interests and values are best served by engaging Ukraine as a solid European partner”, Romano Prodi, former Prime Minister of Italy and former President of the European Commission, wrote in his opinion for The Christian Science Monitor.

“Having overseen the addition of eight Central and Eastern European nations in 2004 – the largest single enlargement of the EU – I remember that at the time some expressed concerns about these countries on the basis of their post-Soviet legal regimes, their economies, and their cultures. Some of these recently admitted EU members were in a worse position than Ukraine is in now. Yet today these nations, including former Soviet bloc countries, are vital and well-established members of the EU,” says Prodi.

“Similarly, Ukraine is important to Europe as a source of economic growth and energy security, as well as a bridge to Russia. On the economic front, Ukraine’s 46 million citizens are highly educated, including expert software engineers, skilled industrial workers who power the country’s commercial export industries, and capable farmers whose work allows the nation to be the breadbasket of Europe,” he comments.

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Prodi is certain that bringing Ukrainian laws and norms in accordance with those of the EU will help to achieve symbolic and substantive progress for democracy regionally and worldwide.

“It is of economic, political, and geostrategic importance to Europe and the US that Ukraine comes under the European umbrella of shared values and free trade. Indeed, Ukraine is perfectly positioned to become a geopolitical and economic bridge between Europe and Russia. In many ways, Kiev was the original cradle of Russia, and Ukraine still has strong ties to Russia in terms of heritage, faith, culture, and language. In fact, alongside its Ukrainian population, Ukraine boasts a large, Russian-speaking population, with familial and cultural connections to Russia. But Ukraine wants to align itself with Europe and with European values, and Western nations should embrace this opportunity before we lose it. Make no mistake: Western interests and values are best served by engaging Ukraine as a solid European partner. This is a serious geopolitical opportunity for Europe and the US. We should make the most of it,” former EU official claims. 

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