Ambassador of Latvia to Ukraine met with students of international relations of UzhNU
On March 17, 2017 the Faculty of International Economic Relations welcomed a distinguished guest from Latvia. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia to Ukraine Juris Poikans visited Uzhhorod and met with the students of international relations. Mr. Poikans assured that he was always happy to discuss with young people. He often has the opportunity to do this, as he travels a lot around Ukraine.
Vice-Rector of UzhNU Myroslava Lendel, who moderated the discussion, introduced the guest and told that he had been in the diplomatic service for almost twenty years, since 1998. He is a Master of Social Sciences, completed Oxford University Foreign Service Programme and a diplomatic course in the Foreign Service Academy, studied at George C.Marshall European Centre for Security Studies and Umea University (Sweden).
Juris Poikans worked in various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, including the embassies of Latvia in Russia, Belarus, Slovenia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the USA. Since the end of 2015, he has been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to Moldova and Ukraine (with residence in Kyiv).
Mr. Poikans said that Europe was going through very difficult times. Ukraine, Latvia and the European Union is facing a number of serious challenges. Firstly, it’s Russia and its aggressive foreign policy, Ukraine has already become a victim of. Secondly, it’s the internal crisis in the EU. "The weakness of the European Union is exploited by Russia, the US and China," - declared the ambassador. And the third challenge is unstable relations between Brussels and Washington after electing Donald Trump as the President of the USA.
Further discussion was in the context of these major challenges. Students were interested whether Europe needed Ukraine, if yes – why, if the latter could barely cope with its internal crisis. Another question was, why Benelux countries were not interested in Ukraine’s integration into the European community. Students also wondered, what were the guaranties that the EU would not eventually become another USSR.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia in Ukraine is convinced that under conditions of further regionalization taking place in the world, it is important for Europe to increase its presence and its influence in all regions, including Ukraine. But Russia will continue to impede the movement of our country towards the EU. According to Juris Poikans, at present Kyiv has support of Eastern and Northern Europe, but Ukrainian diplomats should work more actively in some Southern European (Italy, Spain) and Western European (France) countries.
At the same time, he repeatedly stressed that Kyiv should solve its internal problems: continue reforms, fight corruption, focus on solving social issues in the regions of Donbas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities and, most importantly, complete the judicial reform. According to the ambassador, the present judicial system is the biggest problem of Ukraine. Only when the courts are fair, there will be hope for the rise of interest of European business to our country and a significant inflow of foreign investments.
Finally, Juris Poinkas said that there were two major factors influencing the course of reforms in Ukraine: the pressure of its Western partners (EU and US) and the requirements of our civil society. "You should understand that a lot depends on you", - said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Latvia to Ukraine.