Ukraine. Ten years of independence
On the 24th of August 2001 Ukraine will celebrate its first tenth anniversary of renewal of its state sovereignty. During this period of time a lot of important events took place in the life of the country and its people. Under different historical circumstances those transformations and events faced by Ukraine during ten years would have been sufficient for a hundred years.
Internal development of Ukraine
The internal political situation in Ukraine is stable and dynamic.
The institutions of the sovereign state were established.
In Ukraine functions such system of interaction among different branches of power which takes into account both the national specificity of the past, of this day of Ukraine, and experience of the contemporary democracies in state-building.
This system is defined in the Fundamental Law of our country – in the Constitution of Ukraine of the 28th of June 1996.
The foundations of the organization of the State and of the civil society have been established, i.e. the vital elements which determine to-day the internal political development of Ukraine.
This period is characterized, as in any other country of Europe and of the world, by the dynamic political process during which different political forces defend their own vision of the future of the state and the ways of its attainment.
At the same time the important achievement of Ukraine is in the fact, that in spite of the abundance of approaches to the state-building, this process was always taking place and is taking place now within the framework of the legal system, on the basis of the principles of democracy.
Maturity of the political process of Ukraine was shown by the democratic transition of the presidential power at the elections of 1994 and was confirmed by the elections of 1999 as well as by the elections to the highest legislative body of the state – Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The stability of the political process in Ukraine and carrying out of the consistent reforms create the appropriate conditions for the economic progress of the state. The positive processes, which appeared in the sphere of economy in the year 2000, are becoming irreversible. The vivid evidence of that – the growth for 18% of the industrial output during the first five months of this year, the growth in the agricultural sector for 6% and growth of GDP for 9%.
Thus, having chosen ten years ago the way of development according to the new, democratic standards in the life of the society and in accordance with the market rules in economy, Ukraine confidently continues to move forward along the way of independence.
Foreign policy of Ukraine
From the very moment of achieving its independence, Ukraine has shown itself as predictable and peace-loving member of the international community. During ten years these qualities of the Ukrainian foreign policy remained invariable. Having clearly defined its priorities in the foreign policy, Ukraine continues to adhere to them unswervingly and with the purposefulness.
The main strategic directions of the Ukrainian foreign policy – integration in the European Union, strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, United States of America and Poland. These directions in conjunction with the friendly relations with the neighboring states, with the activity of Ukraine on the regional and sub-regional levels, with the participation in the multilateral diplomacy and in peace-keeping activity became those basic elements which to-day determine the foreign policy of Ukraine.
The strategic aim of the foreign policy of Ukraine is to become enjoying full rights member of the European Union. The European choice of Ukraine is objectively determined and is aimed at ensuring the stable economic growth of the country, social harmony, political stability and state independence and security.
The relations between Ukraine and the European Union are based upon the Agreement on partnership and cooperation and The Strategy of European Union towards Ukraine. The internal state documents that define the task at the direction of the Europe-integration are the Strategy of Integration of Ukraine into EU and the Program of integration of Ukraine into EU.
Ukraine has already received positive messages, which support its Europe-integration efforts. European Parliament supported entry of Ukraine in the future into the European Union. The Summit of EU held in June 2001 in Goteborg took the decision to invite Ukraine to participate in the European Conference, which unites the member-states, and the countries, which are the candidates for the membership in EU.
Top-priority step on the way to entering EU is the membership in the World Trade Organization. In 1993 official application of the Government of Ukraine was submitted to the Secretariat of General Agreement on tariffs and trade as to the accession to the Agreement. In 1997 started the bilateral negotiations with the member-states of WTO as to the access to the market of goods and services. Presently Ukraine holds negotiations with the 39 countries among which are the countries members of EU, USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, countries of CEFTA etc.
Ukraine as one of the founding members of UN always considered this organization as universal mechanism for resolving the global problems of the present days, for establishment of the close cooperation among its members. The participation of Ukraine in the activities of UN during last ten years was extremely productive.
Active and well-weighed position as to the numerous issues of the activities of UN brought to Ukraine merited recognition of the member-states. To this vividly testify the election of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ukraine as the President of the 52nd Session of UN General Assembly, as the non-permanent member of the Security Council for the period 2000-2001 as well as Presidency of Ukraine in the Security Council in March 2001.
During ten years Ukraine has turned into reliable partner of UN in carrying out of peacekeeping operations. Nearly 12 thousand peace-keepers from Ukraine has already fulfilled their mission under the flag of UN in many different parts of the world – in the Balkans, Middle East, Asia, Central America and Africa.
Ukraine is the biggest among the European countries contributor to the peacekeeping operations of UN and is among ten biggest countries -contributors of the world. Ukraine became initiator of adoption by UN General Assembly in 1994 of the Convention on security of the peacekeeping personnel of UN and related to it personnel.
Ukraine actively cooperates with OSCE and NATO as to the issues of peacekeeping and also as to the other measures for maintaining peace. Presently 14 representatives of Ukraine work in the missions of OSCE in Georgia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, in the group of the assistants of the Personal representative of the Acting President of OSCE in Nagirny Karabakh, in the Mission of OSCE in Tadjikistan and in the center of OSCE in Bishkek. Ukraine continuously supports the more active role of OSCE as to the settlement of the «frozen conflicts».
Cooperation with NATO contributes to the strengthening of atmosphere of confidence in the region. Also important are the practical results of cooperation in the military sphere and in the sphere of the soft security. On the level of the bilateral contacts to this testify active development of cooperation of Ukraine with the neighboring member-states and candidates for NATO membership. Indicative is joint participation of NATO and Ukraine in the stabilization processes in the South-East Europe, and in the past – in Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and nowadays – in Kosovo.
Ukraine is developing cooperation with the Council of Europe. During its membership in this organization Ukraine has become the party to 33 European Conventions and Agreements of the Council of Europe, it signed and ratified the greater part of the international and legal documents, to which she had to accede meeting the obligations undertaken upon joining the Organization. The membership of Ukraine in the Council of Europe promotes development of «European thinking», directs the state power and the public thought at the high democratic and humanitarian standards, which are the foundations of the contemporary European civilization.
By its foreign policy, constructive position as to the numerous items of the international agenda Ukraine presents itself as predictable, balanced and reliable partner, which conducts understandable policy. The fact of voluntary renunciation of the third most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world for the sake of strengthening stability and security on the planet is the most vivid evidence of such policy.
Ukraine still has a long way to go. However democratic choice will remain invariable. Having started the construction of the democratic European State, Ukraine will pursue this course in future.
Celebrating tenth anniversary of independence, Ukraine faces with confidence the future, which is connected with the future of European family of nations.