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ISW Conference – The Future of Ukraine, London, November 28th, 2023


On November 28th, 2023, an international conference was held in London, organized by the Institute of Eastern Studies in Warsaw in cooperation with the local partner – The New Europeans International, with the participation of over 60 people. The conference also received financial contribution from The Federal Trust (Great Britain), the Jean Monnet Association (France) and the German Association of Journalists (Germany). The inaugural part included a presentation of the Economic Forum in Karpacz and the latest joint Economic Report of Economic Forum and SGH. Participants also received electronic versions of information material about FE and the FE/SGH 2023 report.

In the panel “Strengthening Long-Term Security Cooperation”, Rt. Hon. Bob Seely, Member of the House of Commons, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ukraine (UK), confirmed NATO’s readiness to accept Ukraine, in accordance with the decisions of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023, pointing out that it would take longer than originally expected to achieve full technical interoperability of the Ukrainian armed forces with its future allies. He also signalled the need to maintain support for Ukraine in its war against the Russian aggressor, especially in the context of the conflict situation in the Middle East (Gaza Strip) attracting media attention, which would include, among others, expected greater military successes of Ukrainian troops on the front. First of all, the West will continue to focus on supplies of ammunition and weapons to fighting Ukraine.

Mr. Marek Siwiec (Poland), former Vice-President of the European Parliament and former member of the EP-Ukraine Group, former Head of the National Security Bureau, pointed out the need for NATO to switch from a mode of operation in conditions of relative peace to a mode of operation in conditions of armed conflict.

Ms. Maria Ionova, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, co-founder of the Ukrainian Women’s Congress, appealed for jointly with NATO to stop Russia from possible further aggression and to thwart its offensive plans. She emphasized that the West’s support is an investment in its own security and defence of democracy and its values. She also appealed not to succumb to anti-Ukrainian sentiments that work to Russia’s advantage and refer to the unfavourable effects of the war on Western societies, such as higher energy prices, etc.

In the panel “If and When? Ukraine’s Path to EU Membership”, Baroness Julie Smith of Newnham, Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, emphasized that so far there is substantial political consensus within the EU to admit Ukraine, pointing to the threat to this process from some members, including Hungary, which has chosen an anti-democratic course and towards rapprochement with Russia.

Mr. Olivier Védrine (Jean Monnet Association, France) expressed moderate optimism about Ukraine’s chances of achieving full EU membership, emphasizing the rapid changes in awareness taking place in Ukrainian society, which bring it closer to Western countries and the structures of the EU and NATO. He also pointed out the need to accelerate the West’s decision regarding structural rapprochement with Ukraine in the context of the expected Russian spring offensive on the front, including the need for NATO to switch to the wartime economy phase, with Russia on the other side, which is actually already operating economically in wartime conditions.

Mr. Wolfgang Ressmann, Chairman of the Media Dialogue (Germany), expressed hope that active cooperation between Ukraine and the West will lead to the transformation of Ukraine into a reliable partner of the West.

In the panel “Democracy, Media Freedom and Human Rights”, the panelists (Mr. Mika Beuster, President of the German Association of Journalists, Ms. Katia Glod, European Policy Network, Ms. Marty Dejevsky, The Independent) generally agreed that despite the actions taken by the Ukrainian authorities to aimed at counteracting corruption, it remains a difficult and harmful problem for Ukrainian society, which, among others, polls confirm. The problem has become even more pressing as Ukrainians face the Russian invasion. Media freedom and respect for human rights are two further criteria by which the proper functioning of a liberal-democratic society can be assessed. Ukraine ranks in the bottom third of all countries in terms of its human rights situation. Greater activity of Western media and institutions in cooperation with Ukraine is advisable in order to counteract Russian propaganda that distorts reality as part of hybrid activities.


On the eve of the conference, on 27/11/2023, the panelists were met in the House of Commons by the leadership of the UK-Ukraine All Party Parliamentary Group: Rt. Hon. Tony Lloys , Rt. Hon. Alex Sobel and Rt. Hon. Dr Bob Seely. At the meeting, the British side emphasized the cross-party consensus on supporting Ukraine’s military effort in the war against Russian aggression and planned reconstruction activities. It was emphasized that Ukraine’s war against Putin’s aggression ultimately strengthens the security of Europe and the West and is at the same time a front in the fight for democracy and its values. British parliamentarians expressed understanding about the decision of the Ukrainian authorities not to hold general elections within the constitutional deadline under the current conditions of the state of war.

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