Euro Village 2012 Shines Light on EU Partnership in Ukraine
Kyiv, June 20, 2012. With the 14th European Football Championship taking place in the Eastern European countries of Ukraine and Poland, the EU took this opportunity to inform and educate on its internal reforms and external support. The Delegation of the European Union in Ukraine, Kyiv city administration as well as numerous stakeholders from the Ukrainian businesses and NGOs have decided to jointly support the initiative. These efforts resulted in the European Village - Our Continent public event, which is going to last for 30 days starting June 2, 2012 near the Arch of Friendship, in downtown Kyiv.
Naturally, the EURO Cup Championships become increasingly popular as a part of global dialogue that does not just focus entirely on sports but also serves as a stage to showcase global development trends. As EURO 2012 continues bringing together people from all over the world, the European Village acts as a vital tool in illustrating a new and forward-thinking relationship between Europe and Ukraine.
In the last two decades both the EU and Ukraine have been working together on many issues including reforms in the agricultural sector, healthcare, education, renewable energy technology, etc. The European Village event features many international organizations that collaborated on such reforms, for European and Ukrainian constituents. One of the most important topics for discussion is the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. Last year, the two parties finalized negotiations, which continue the ambitious plan of moving to a more ideal level of economic integration and deeper political association. “2012 is a crucial year of opportunity for EU-Ukraine relations — a lot is at stake. The EU expressed its continued commitment to support Ukraine’s closer European integration, which is still the official foreign policy of the country. There is no Plan B,” reads the official European Village website)
A project by the German Cooperative and Raiffeisen Confederation (DGRV) on behalf of GIZ was one such initiative focused on reforms in Ukraine, particularly in the rural financial system. According to the company press release, it is the rural economy that needs suitable organizations which can enable the development of farming enterprises beside the large agricultural producers. After all, for many decades, Ukraine has been one of the leading food producers and is currently one of the six biggest wheat exporters in the world. Nowadays, regulation and financial oversight of microfinance sectors are commonly ignored, and it is “these microfinance sectors that carry the most weight in terms of change in the system of institutional development,” reads press release by DGRV/GIZ Project “Reform of the Rural Financial System of Ukraine”.
Another project represented at the European Village was Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Facing global environmental challenges head on has always been a key priority in the EU’s relationship with Ukraine. The 2004 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Strategy underlines the fundamental nature of the challenge: “Environmental pollution does not respect borders and can therefore be best addressed through a mix of international, regional and national action. Enhanced environment protection will bring benefits to citizens and businesses both in the Union and in partner countries.” Along with variety energy renewable technologies presented at the European Village, the organizers built something called “energy house.” “This house shows renewable energy technologies that are already common in Germany and other European countries. The house uses technologies that extract energy from biomass, sun and wind. They are already very popular in Austria, Germany and other European countries,” said Christiana Hageneder, (GIZ) Project Director for Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Ukraine.
Health reform and education was another important topic highlighted at the European Village - Our Continent. Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe e.V. (DAH) is an AIDS service working both in Germany and Ukraine promoting AIDS prevention measures. “Education and information is of upmost priority in terms of the AIDS pandemic. Today I am passing out condoms with information attached to them. Sure, you may not take the condom in public, but you’ll take the brochure which has all of the information you need to know how to be safer, and how or what to do when you know someone with AIDS. It’s all about protecting yourself through the right information,” explained Alexandra Gurinova an Associate of Fachbereich Internationales, International Cooperation. The AIDS awareness project directed by DAH is implemented by providing AIDS services locally through regional AIDS service organizations. They run educational and training courses that carry out public relations work at the local level, which in turn looks after and cares for people with HIV and AIDS at home, in the hospital, in prison and in drug treatment facilities. Just this measure alone brings Ukraine closer to sealing ties with other countries of the EU and brings Ukraine closer to making some very important health reforms along the way, mentioned one of the attendees.
Overall, the European Village - Our Continent provides a way for promoting themes for development and brings together national and international individuals from the world of politics, business, culture and sport and initiates partnerships that extend far beyond football. The ultimate aim is that these people, no matter where they come from will work together in a partnership of good will and equal opportunity for all.