AMBASSADOR'S BLOG - DONETSK, UKRAINE AND THE EU

06.12.11




What would the great Welshman and founder of Donetsk, John Hughes, think of Ukraine today?

I was privileged to be invited to Donetsk recently to give the inaugural John Hughes memorial speech. My audience was the Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and the British Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce. In the speech I paid tribute to John Hughes, who arrived in 1870 in what is now Donetsk (but was initially called “Yuzovska”, or “Hughesovska”) and the way which his capital, technology and expertise contributed to the economy of what is now Ukraine. I went on to note how Ukraine’s EU integration could provide the best possible additional impetus to economic reform in Ukraine. I also said, however, that for as long as opposition leaders imprisoned as the result of flawed trials were in prison and unable to participate in political activity, the Association Agreement which could do such a huge amount to bring about that integration was, unfortunately, unlikely to be signed or ratified and thus would not enter into effect. That would be an immense pity for both Ukraine and the EU. It would also reduce the chances of Donetsk developing into the kind of wealthy, modern European city which John Hughes would most have liked to see.

You can read the full text of the speech here (in English) or here (in Ukrainian).

Leigh Turner



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