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Letter from AAFB President, Marie-Hélène Caillol, to AEGEE-Kyiv

As part of the support of AAFB to AEGEE’s 30th anniversary celebrations, Marie-Hélène Caillol had the opportunity to take part in a very interesting meeting organised by AEGEE-Kyiv. Following the inspiring discussions she had with the students on the situation in their country and in Euro-Russian relations, Marie-Hélène Caillol has wished to write them a letter thanking them and organising a few ideas…

Letter Kyiv – 240415 (in English)

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Nice, le 24/04/2015

Dear Anna,

Dear Hanna, Olia, Olga, Vitalii, Anastasia, Victoria, Kseniya, Stas, Alyona,…

Dear members of Aegee-Kyiv,

Dear dear friends,

I came back to France with Kyiv in my heart… it’s now upon you that I don’t get a heart attack!

With Maidan, a point was made on both your longing for a modern political system and your aspiration to be recognized as Europeans… too.

But think of this: the Russians are somehow your best asset to be considered as Europeans… Indeed Western Europe will always tend to see you as very close to Russia, while Russia will always tend to see you as very close to Europe…

Therefore, in our common interest, while you turn towards Europe, don’t turn your back to Russia. You are both Russia and Europe and Russia and Europe both need you as such.

We need a Ukrainian people proud of its dual identity!

The Europeans need you as a bridge to Russia.

The Russians need you to connect to Europe.

And You-krainians can make the most of this double need. Two sponsors is better than one master. Conditions are therefore optimal for you to strengthen your position and build your independence.

Contrary to this, today Ukraine lost on both fronts:

. it lost the asset of being included into the Eurasian Economic Union

. the EU is incapable of moving forward with its trade deal with Ukraine in the current situation.

As regards the last point, don’t forget that the EU is an attempt to prove that it’s possible to live and cooperate with one’s former enemies. How could this EU end up supporting country divisions?…

Having to choose between Europe and Russia is a trap! We must make sure to have relations with both Europe and Russia in the case of Ukraine, as well as with both the US and Russia in the case of Europe and with both Europe and China in the case of Russia. Balanced foreign relations is the key to reaching independence, strength, leverage.

Today the three of us (EU, Ukraine, Russia) are dramatically weakened by having been imposed to choose a camp (US, EU, China).

But I see no reason not to get out of the trap.

And it can start from your country to impose resuming free-trade talks with both EU and Eurasia, to request a tripartite negotiation… and get it this time[1].

There lies the solution to your economic crisis, to the strengthening of your nation, to the national reconciliation that bears on you[2], to assert your own interests. There lies the solution to the dramatic disruption of Euro-Russian relations too.

And it should be this civil society of modern young Ukrainians you represent so well, who should ask for this resumption of tripartite free-trade talks. This time you can get it, I’m sure!

Once Ukraine has recreated the conditions for its economic survival (conditions which ensure its sovereignty rather than open the country to the current and ongoing free-lunch bargain of your richness), you modern young Ukrainians will be in a position to modernize your political system, a task which depends on Ukrainians only.

Today, Ukraine has switched from corrupt post-Soviet aparatchiks to corrupt neo-capitalist oligarchs.

To be a modern country, Ukraine needs you modern young Ukrainians from both East and West of the country to build together new political parties, new political mechanisms, new media, and occupy the future[3]!

This modernization of your political system is the most demanding and complex task. It fully belongs to you. My little advice is just this one, learnt from a discussion with a Chinese top-ranking official who told me once:

“When we China decided to switch to a free-market economy in the 90s, we had a choice between attempting to reform the existing institutions and building new ones…”

I let you guess what they chose…

Lots of love, peace and courage… et à bientôt !

Marie-Hélène

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[1] Contrary to November 2013, when the Barroso Commission refused to Ukraine the right to have both Russia and the EU at the same trade deals table… a serious historical mistake on the part of the EU.

[2] Simply because there is no future in or next to Europe for a Ukraine at war with itself… or split up

[3] « Occupy the future » is a slogan coined by Franck Biancheri in his last appearance in front of AEGEE students in Enschede (NL) in May 2012, a few months before he passed away. It is visible on YouTube.

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