September 13-16 Livadia Palace in Yalta hosted 9th forum of Yalta European Strategy (YES), during which world leaders usually speak about current and future development processes in all spheres of public life. This time more than 200 leading representatives of political, business and public circles from more than 20 countries discussed main global challenges and their influence on Europe, Ukraine and the world.

In the course of the meeting, world officials made a number of important statements. Thus, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle said he wanted Ukraine to be a member of the European Union. "I stand for Ukraine's membership in the EU. I do want this, but do you?" he asked Ukrainian representatives. Füle also reminded that Europe did not impose its partnership on Ukraine. Ukraine has declared its willingness to cooperate, so it should meet a number of requirements set by the EU.

In his turn, foreign minister of Sweden Carl Bildt called upon Kyiv to decide what international originations it wants to join, otherwise Ukraine may find itself in isolation.  "Ukraine wants to cooperate with the EU, Customs Union, Shanghais organization and others. But if you go everywhere, you will appear nowhere," Bildt underlined.  Former NATO Gen Sec Javier Solana also called upon Ukraine to make its choice.

At the same time, former US state secretary Condoleezza Rice reproached the EU for its desire to retire into its shell. According to her, The EU should not separate itself from the neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Turkey. She stressed that if Europe focused on itself as a result of a crisis then one of the largest magnets of democratic development in Europe and the whole world would be lost.

Moreover, visit of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was very promising for Ukraine in respect of economic development. Turkish and Crimean PMs discussed investments into agriculture and industry of Crimea, as well as grants for support of repatriates on the peninsula.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities focused on the economic issues. Thus, President Viktor Yanukovych assured that Ukraine was ready to join the competition for leading positions in the world. President's view were shared by economy minister Petro Poroshenko, who declared that thanks to development of agricultural sector Ukraine has a unique possibility to join the circle of leaders of the world economy within the next 10 years.

ForUm has asked political scientists, sociologists and philosophers about the meaning of the Yalta Summit and perspectives it has brought. 

Kost Bondarenko, head of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:

Yalta meetings are extremely important for Ukraine and its international image, because they provide an opportunity to ask some questions to find real moments in the dialogue between Ukraine and other countries. It means that such events approach our country to the EU making it more open and understandable.

Volodymyr Horbach, political analyst of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation:

Nothing extraordinary happened at the summit. It seems that the President has once again lost an opportunity to rectify the situation in EU-Ukraine relations. In fact, the break in relations between Ukraine and the EU, which Viktor Yanukovych mentioned on the Independence Day, is retained.

EU representatives did not say anything new as well. Everybody knows that the EU and the West await the parliamentary elections in Ukraine in order to proceed. Therefore the messages of Stefan Füle and Elmar Brok did not convey anything new, it's just a way to maintain the dialogue.

Myroslav Popovich, Ph.D., director of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy:

Nothing particularly new happened at the Yalta meeting. The same wishes for Ukraine to find its position, the same invitation to the European family and the same conditions, but defined more clearly.

However, Ukraine voiced more or less transparent position on Tymoshenko and Lutsenko cases and so on. It means that Ukraine declared that if no agreement is ratified by the EU, we will search for the truth somewhere in the East. It's very sad, and if that happens, the next five - seven years will be tragic for Ukraine.

Vitaly Kulik, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies:

It is interesting that the main participants of the meeting from the EU including Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, EU Commissioner Stefan Füle and head of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok have very different perceptions of the stage of relations between Ukraine and the EU. Bildt recently noted on his blog that the European integration of Ukraine was suspended, and Fule, on the contrary, believes that it is not necessary to freeze relations at this stage. Former NATO General Secretary Javier Solana also does not support the freezing of relations between Kyiv and Brussels.

Summarizing the overall results, summit has once again stipulated the positions of two parties on major issues of cooperation. Ukraine, as before, insists on its interest in integration, Europe requires something in return. It is hard to say how the EU will react to the results of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine. If recognition is rather quiet and fast, it will allow relying on further constructive dialogue with the EU.

Taras Berezovski, political strategist, director of 'Berta Communications' consulting company:

YES Summit has proved that the EU and US have no intentions to give up on Ukraine. Europe has strong reasons to follow Ukrainian affairs and continue cooperation despite the situation with Tymoshenko. Brussels understand that strictly internal mechanisms cannot help to solve economic problems, thus the EU is searching other market outlet for its production. Most probably, Europe will turn the blind eye on democracy problems in Ukraine in exchange for creation of FTA with Ukraine.

Among negative moments, I want to point out my observations on that Western partners were talking at the summit, but not listening to each to other. Thus, the EU was interested in economy and Tymoshenko's and Lutsenko's cases, Ukrainian authorities focused exclusively on economic problems, while Stefan Fule declared that without decision on Tymoshenko's cases the progress in relations with the EU is impossible.

At the same time, the visit of former US state secretary Condoleezza Rice was of utmost importance. She declared that regardless of the results of the presidential elections US foreign policy regarding Ukraine will change for the better. The US actually admitted that Ukraine was going under influence of Russia. Moreover, Condoleezza Rice expressed the position not only of the Republicans and their candidate for presidency Mitt Romney, but the joint position of both Democrats and Republicans, meaning that in case of Obama's victory his previous dead-end policy regarding Ukraine will undergo transformation.

Last year the Russian delegation ignored the summit, as a part of silent boycott. This year Russia has been presented by both politicians and businessmen. The fact is that none of big Russian businessmen has managed to create similar powerful forum, thus Russia has to use Ukraine as a platform. The Kremlin has come to terms with the fact that Ukraine carries out its own course of foreign policy, relying on national interests and without a backward glance at Moscow.

Yevhen Leshan, political expert:

- Apart from 'European' and 'Russian' issues, the summit was marked by the visit of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made important for Ukraine declarations. Turkey is one of the principle foreign trade partners, and for this we are holding talks on free trade area. Moreover, position of Ankara determines our cooperation with Azerbaijan, including gas supplies. Turkey may become the  guarantor of Ukraine's energy security.

Summing up, the meeting has proved standstill in relations with the West and sudden burst of interest from the East. This is not a bad way to differentiate our foreign policy targets, not putting all our eggs in one basket.


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