THE OPPORTUNITY FOR POLITICAL LEADERS

The citizens of Ukraine are clear on the path they envisage for the future: adopting EU standards for the country’s governance, economic growth and sustainable development. This is nevertheless a perspective that is still in the future and surrounded by hurdles such as Ukraine’s sometimes negative international image. It requires much hard work and commitment. Moreover, Ukraine suffers from many of the stereotypes used about the country in general whilst it can be demonstrated that the situation has moved on. The unique circumstances presented by the current environment create an opportunity for an independent democratic champion of reform to carve out a special niche for the development of a strong international reputation.

The EU Ukraine Association Agreement has just started to be implemented and this will have a direct economic impact both bilaterally and globally.

Ukraine is facing a challenge: there are changes in terms of infrastructure, sustainable economy, rule of law and investment climate. A major communications programme now for a champion of reform can command the high moral ground by demonstrating the willingness to engage the necessary political reforms, to explain the realities of Ukraine’s economic potential, to show that the country is open to business and investment and to display its potential as a business location, a tourism destination and a strategic partner for EU energy security. In effect there is an opportunity for politicians to promote his credentials as a national spokesman, a patriot and a democratic reformer.

The time is now right to work on a broad canvas and to undertake a sustained campaign to increase awareness of the reform programme under way in Ukraine with European and US policy makers and to ground the debate on Ukraine in the reality of the ongoing reform process despite the difficult reputation the country faces.

We believe that ukrainian political leaders can present a strong case for Ukraine from an independent party political position. But we also recognise that the time to make it can be long and subject to resistance. Europe’s policy makers urgently need to hear the economic and political case for changing their perception about Ukraine, and this presents an opportunity to political leaders to develop his international credentials.

Our first priority will be to ensure that those who are open to hearing alternative narratives to those which are only negative about Ukraine get to hear a coherent story about the country’s progress and readiness to engage all necessary reforms to meet the EU standards.

We will ensure that your case reaches the widest audience and that wider audiences get to hear from business, political and social leaders who can speak to a wider international audience. All the time we will focus on developing the skills and experience of your own communications team: we aim to build the party’s capacity to communicate its story, not to foster dependence on external assistance.

We will seek to carve an independent line for political leaders to make it clear that they are committed to reform, economic integration with the EU and the improvement of Ukraine’s image as a key driver for investment and growth.