Few days ago Brussels Press Club hosted a discussion on "migration crisis" in Europe. It was organized by "Uphold Europe", whose mission is to involve the private sector into the debates on migration. Two main speakers were Laszlo Andor, former Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, and Giles Merritt, former Brussels Correspondent of the Financial Times.
Both speakers agreed that there is no #migration crisis in Europe. Crisis that exists is is "migration management crisis".
Laszlo Andor reminded us that migration is part of the functioning of human society, and it always has been. "Debate about yes or no to migrants is ridiculous. We can't stop them", says his collegue Giles Merritt.
Polulistic politicians in Europe use emotional factors that are disconnected from reality.
Brexit confirms this tendency.
It might be surprise for most of those who voted "Leave" that the UK is experiencing much larger numbers of migration from non-EU countries rather than from EU countries.
Speakers also touched upon integration of immigrants into the labour market.
Laszlo Andor pointed out that Belgium underperforms when it comes to the share of immigrants in its labour market, and this shows lack of social integration. But also the countries should take a lead in the creation of the platform for inclusion of people who arrived from outside Europe.
Both, migrant and a host should make equal efforts to learn to live together and create prosperity
Brussels and Maastricht - places where you can attend an event together with NATO Secretary General or President of the European Commission Part 2: Brussels
On Tuesday, the 13 December 2016 Carnegie Europe organized a discussion on military issues at the Norway House. The keynote speaker was Jens Stoltenberg - the NATO Secretary General. Almost open access to those who registered on time shows willingness of high-ranking officials to communicate closer to people.
Here are main speech points discussed by NATO Secretary General:
1. Cyberattack can trigger our collective defence
2. Cyber dimension becomes a military domain within NATO. It is impossible to imagine military conflict without cyber dimension
3. We have to do more to collect, share and analyse the information from intelligence. It is important for early warning
4. There is still a common threat perception about Russia. Nevertheless NATO is striving for constructive relations with Russia
5. Competitiveness issue between EU and NATO: "None of us has all the tools, so we should combine them to respond to hybrid threats"
6. NATO is the most successful military alliance in history. As long as we are strong and united we can prevent an attack
Senior Fellow of Carnegie Europe, Judy Dempsey spoke out her opinion that there is no political dimension behind NATO. Even more, “NATO does things very badly, especially bad it is in admitting its mistakes. It did huge mistakes in Libya. It did not learn anything from Iraq. It does not talk about Syria”. “We are lazy in proper research and analysis”, Judy said.
For me it is to highlighten, that the spoken up disagreement of Mrs. Dempsey with NATO political approach indicates the freedom of researchers not only in their analysis but also in their communication of the results of this analysis.
In such environment it is hard for some propagandists to keep on insisting that everyone in Europe has one and the same point of view which is being imposed on the country from which propaganda originates.
At the end of each session there was possibility for audience to ask questions. Everyone was free to raise hands. There were questions about Aleppo and about Russia. Someone from the audience asked whether the interference in democratic elections in the US cannot be considered a cyberattack. Regretfully, the answer of Mr. Stoltenberg was not that clear. But he mentioned that to trigger the collective defence they first have to attribute the attack - to find out who is behind it.
There were two questions I wanted to ask to the panel but I managed to ask one: “How to make Western countries attribute the attacks faster because as Ukrainian I know how much time they take to attribute military attacks to even visually clear offenders”. Regretfully, it has never been answered. Apparently, there are no recipes. And when there are no recipes, the second question cannot be allowed to be asked.
Nevertheless I believe that the freedom is a platform for humanity and vulnerability of those who exchange views and take decisions in Brussels, in the heart of the peace and prosperity of the European civilization
Brussels and Maastricht - places where you can attend an event together with NATO Secretary General or President of the European Commission Part 1: Maastricht
On Friday, the 9 December 2016 Maastricht hosted EU-Summit “Europe Calling. Back to Maastricht”. Big modern exhibition hall allocated more than 300 participants who came to celebrate 25 years of Maastricht Treaty with people who signed it back in 1991. In the foyer ambassadors, diplomats, journalists, lecturers, professors and students stayed in the queue to register and then in another queue to hand in their coats. On the list of participants names of everyone who was invited for the event were in alphabetical order: J-C Juncker after the name Joosten and H.van Rompuy after the name Rompen – no special place; no special entries; and not far from people.
After the speeches there was lunch. It turned out that the President of the European Commission had birthday and he celebrated it with us. Herman van Rompuy made a beautiful toast and sang the song “Happy Birthday Mister President” and we naturally helped him out when we realized that he did not sound like Merlin Monroe.
The organization was excellent. Within few hours the movie about this Summit was made and even shown to the audience before the closure of the event http://www.europecalling.nl/program/eu-top/
In general, the openness, sense of humour, and civilized disagreement of the speakers with each other show the level of high-ranking debates performance for those who want to make global impact.
Also, the professionalism of the British moderator Jacki Davis has to be learned by those who like to ask questions and discipline speakers. By the way, Jacki said she did not “brexit”, she stays in the EU!
In his afternoon speech the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said that Europe competes with countries that are more competitive because they do not care about values that Europe cares about. But exactly because of its values and through its unprecedented achievements Europe can serve as role model for other countries of the world, and first and foremost for its own member states.
Belgian Parliament is a very recommended place for visit: cosy rooms, oldtime paintings, bronze statues, 200 kg gold on the roof, deputies who smile and say hello when crossing you, Elio De Rupo in the lift and the guide with a great sense of humor.
We spent 2 hours in De Kamer on Thursday, 8 December 2016 and during that time had a chance to talk to the deputy Nahima Lanjri who was open and direct in her answers to our not always easy questions. Just before we finished our discussion the alarm rang and Nahima had to rush to the plenary room and we ran after her to watch the debates and the voting. At that time the labour law concerning the inability to work in the presence of the Minister of social affairs Maggie De Block was discussed. To us as spectators seemed that the left wing parties blocked the changes to the current law: the left side of the room was happy and applauding and on the screen we saw more NO-votes than YES-votes.
Separate attention needs to be given to the translation issue. Belgium is a three-languages country. It means that in the Federal Parliament there are representatives who speak all three languages. The German is in minority, so during the discussion the German-speaking deputies use French but when they have to speak in the name of the Community they represent they speak German. The problem is that there is no simultaneous translation for the German language, so these deputies give their speech to the translator on beforehand. As for French and Dutch, there are translators in every Commission room as well as in the Plenary.
Promote Ukraine team is glad to have organized this tour and to have welcomed Ukrainian, Austrian, Bulgarian, Belgian, and Argentinian participants. Looking forward to the next multinational activities with you!
On November 4, 2016 in Brussels press centre Ukrainian journalists (TV project “Special View”) presented an investigative film about the business-connections of some European companies with some internationally sanctioned Russian enterprises and the enterprises situated on the temporary occupied territory of Ukraine in Donetsk region.
In particular, this film tells us that several European companies buy coal from two mines. The first one is situated on the territory of the so called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) – the organization, which was announced terrorist and conducts the war in the East of Ukraine. The second one is owned by the Russian company which is under the sanctions of the EU and the USA.
The author of the film Ukrainian journalist and editor of the TV project “Special View” Sergii Kovtun believes that this investigation will help the law-enforcement in Ukraine and Europe to see that such business-connections of European companies with these enterprises let the terrorists continue the war in the East of Ukraine.
“ According to the international norms the trade with the occupied Donbass is impossible. Ukraine has been deprived of the opportunity to control a part of its borders, that is why while exporting such coal there is no customs registration, and the money from such export does not get into the Ukrainian budget. Therefore, such coal is considered to be contraband. The price of it is the following: the prime cost of the mined coal is very low (15 euros per a ton, whereas on international markets this price can reach 80 euros) that is why this business has surplus profit. As estimated by experts every year up to 1.5 million tons of coal are mined. It is done very easily - the coal is transported to Russia and then it officially belongs to it. In case with the Flame SA company the Security Service of Ukraine has become aware of the contract that the Swiss signed namely with the administration of the occupied mine” – Sergii Kovtun said.
"Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Exhibition" has become one of the largest exhibition projects in Ukraine. It was first successfully demonstrated in Kyiv Art Arsenal. Since June 26 till July 17 the Shadows have occupied Lviv Palace of Arts.
The exhibition is full of facts and artifacts from the past and the present of Parajanov cult film, it examines the personal stories of film authors and the collective voice of the Hutsul culture. Myths of the "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" world transfer us to the special atmosphere of real Hutsuliya, its intimacy and mysticism.
In the exhibition hall the guests are welcomed by the transported from Kyiv installation – a dismantled Hutsul hut, turned into a huge bonfire. That is what especially sets the tone to what you will see next. Two floors of the palace were filled with croppings, information, photos, videos, elements of the Hutsul life and new forms of discourse about "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" by contemporary artists. A special part of the exhibition is its testing component – here the film world and the events are decorated in the form of quotes and explanations, that took place or still occur around it. In the hall of the Palace the reason of the exhibition creation – Parajanov’s film "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" is shown non-stop. The only exception are some lectures and meetings that will take place here during the exhibition.
The special part of the exhibition is the performance "Betlehem" of now Lviv artist Andriy Khira – the day before the opening, the "shadows" walked the streets of the city in masks and costumes created by him. "The stylized Carpathian vertep becomes as modern as possible. The visual images and sound rhythms are combined into one and form a conspicuous show" – it explains the essence of the performance. Andrew is also the author of the visual style of the exhibition, here one can also see a part of his project "Zabobony (Superstitions)", which he created together with his wife.
The organizers paid a special attention to the musical component of the event – the author’s music of Serhiy Luniov accompanies the guests throughout the exposure viewing. Incidentally, the author of the original music from the film– Mуroslav Skorуk also came to the exhibition opening in Lviv.
In the middle of June the Lviv Philharmonic Hall hosted the final concert of the International Festival of Musical Arts "Virtuosos".
Valeriy Sokolov entered the top ten of the best violinists in the world. His performance of concert #3 for violin and orchestra of Yevhen Stankovych was Lviv premiere of the work written by the composer last year and devoted to the violin virtuoso.
This work is an artistic "response to the events of today," a kind of "Artist’s confession about our dramatic time, Maidan and a war which "was transported" to Ukraine." The famous maestro Evhen Stankovych was present in the room as the guest of honor.
Recordings of his compositions were produced by such companies as "Melody", "Analekta", "ASV" and "Naxos". The works of Yevhen Stankovych were heard in concert halls in Canada, USA, Germany, France, Spain, China, the Philippines, and countries of Eastern Europe.
Another gift for Lviv audience was the performance of "Concerto for two violins by Malcolm Arnold", which combines "perfect emotional restraint" of Valeriy Sokolov and charm and elegance of Mariya Tkachyk.
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