- By Chris Kremidas Courtney
Brussels, October 27 – Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko appealed by video from Kyiv for private sector Western support to rebuild the Ukrainian economy even while war is still raging. “It is essential that, in current times, war is not an embargo on investment …The energy of a successful win will be a driver for economic growth in Ukraine and Europe for many, many years.”
Svyrydenko was speaking today (27Oct2022) at State of Europe, the agenda setting event organised in Brussels by leading think thank Friends of Europe for the 19th consecutive year, under the headline “Making sense of transitions in an age of crisis – a Renewed Social Contract for a new era”, bringing together at the Palais D’Egmont over 200 influential figures from EU, Government, NATO and WTO to Ukrainian government officials and activists, Belorussian opposition leader and leading international authors from over 40 countries.
Traditional aspects of war, such as shelling, artillery, and air superiority, aren’t the only thing when it comes to winning the war in Ukraine. “Maintaining critical infrastructure is essential to support internally displaced people,” Svyrydenko said.
Speakers underlined the crucial role that Ukrainian civil society and businesses had played in resisting Russian aggression, keeping essential services and connectivity going and improvising support for the military and for war crimes prosecutors.
James Appathurai, NATO’s deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges, said that, on paper, Ukraine’s military would have been outpowered by Russia if it had not been for the role of civil society and the private sector inside and outside the county.
He cited as examples crowd-sourced intelligence and analysis, commercially available satellite imagery, civilian software for national language interception and facial recognition to locate Russian units and identify war criminals, as well as crowdfunding to buy Turkish drones.
“What the Ukraine has shown us is what it means to fight for your values … Ukraine’s military capability and will is very clear; and the strategic role of Ukraine in containing Russian expansionism is also blatantly clear,” he said.
Ukrainian activist Inna Shevchenko highlighted the central role of citizens in sustaining Ukraine’s national resistance. “Between the Ukrainian military and civil society, the distinction is so blurred. It’s a genuine national effort of resistance,” she said. “This is a war of values, and no war of values can be won without civil society.”
“As long of the rest of the world supports us, we will continue to fight. As long as we continue to fight, the rest of the world will support us,” she said when asked about war fatigue.
“Ukraine is fighting for our freedom” underlined US Ambassador to the EU Mark Gitenstein.
“A Renewed Social Contract,” commented Friends of Europe COO, Dharmendra Kanani, “can act as the policy lever and methodology for managing crises; it can also provide the social glue to build trust amongst citizens, governments and the private sector by redefining their roles, responsibilities and expectations in contributing to good society.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Media Kit with full quotes from participants, State of Europe agenda, reports and background information available here
- Friends of Europe is an independent think tank, seeking real solutions by transforming mindsets through the confrontation of ideas, breaking down silos between politicians, businesses and civil society.
- The 19th iteration of its kind State of Europe is Friends of Europe’s annual festival of politics and ideas. This year it welcomed over 200 influential figureheads from more than 40 countries to Palais d’Egmont in Brussels, Belgium.
- Launched in 2004 under the Barroso Commission presidency, State of Europe was conceived as a way of breaking down the silos between policymakers in the EU, and investigate future challenges of healthcare, sustainability, digital-readiness, and globalisation.
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