16thYES Annual Meeting: the headlines from day two

15 September 2019

Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk opened the second day of the 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting announcing ambitious plans for Ukraine 

Headline speakers today included Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, Tony Blair, former PM of UK, Christopher Pincher, UK MP & Minister of State for Europe and Bernard-Henri Levy, Philosopher and Writer

Kyiv, Ukraine, 14th September 2019: The second day of the 16thYalta European Strategy Annual Meeting saw a number of high-level speakers discussthe new Ukrainian parliament, it’s ambitious plans for reform, Britain’s relationship with Ukraine and the rise of populism in the new face of politics. 

According to Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, Ukraine will be announcing plans in Parliament in the next few weeks as part of his new party’s reforms. The plansinclude opening the land market, breaking downmonopolies, liberalising labour relations, resolvingunemployment issues and tacklingenvironmental protection. “We understand that some of the changes will be unpopular,but these transformational changes will be needed to make the reforms happen”, he added.

Honcharukcontinued toexplain that the new parliament aims to grow the economy by 40 per cent in the next five years. “Although ambitious, I am certain we can meet these targets. Of course, for Ukraine to become rich, it needs aggressive economic growth. I personally link economic growth and foreign investment with trust. Our new party needs to develop trust internationally for foreign investors,as well as at a national level,” addedHoncharuk.

Attendees later heard fromothernew MPs including; Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy PM, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Anna Novosad, Minister of Education and Science, Volodymyr Borodiansky, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports who each outlined their hopes for thenew parliament.

Other key themes for day two includedthe rise of populism, Brexitand international security. 

Attendees also heard from Christopher Pincher, Minister of State for Europe in the UK,on his hopes for the relationship between Ukraine and the UK, which unsurprisingly touched on Brexit. Pincher focused on increasing the success of Ukraine and UK trade relations, insisting that countries can’t “have happiness without successful trade”. 

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK, Bernard-Henri Levy, Philosopher and Writer, and Oleksandr Martynenko, CEO Interfax-Ukraine News Agency discussed the rise of populism. Blair defined populism as: “Being about exploiting anger around certain issues and assigning blame, rather than actually tacklingthe issue”. 

This led on to the topic of Brexit. Blair went on to say: “One thing the British publicwouldn’t forgive politicans for is if we don’tresolve the Brexit deadlock. The only way we can resolve it is if we have areferendum. Only thenwe can make a decision on Brexit. The issue with hosting another election is that it’s a vote on a political party, not on issue of Brexit.”

Blair did end on a slightly more positive note: “I am vehemently opposed to Brexit, but whatever happens don’t write Britain off.”


Some of the other headlines coming out of the day’s debates were:


“If we launch a new government and show new faces, attitudes will change and a new culture will follow.”

Oleksiy Honcharuk, Prime Minister, Ukraine


“Ukraine has become the latest ‘front line’ in freedom, security and democracy.”

Christopher Pincher, Minister of State for Europe, UK


“The term ‘populism’ isn’t about being popular. It is exploiting an issue rather than answering it.”

Tony Blair, Former PM of UK


“The West is in crisis. We would be foolish to not be pessimistic”

Bernard-Henri Levy, Philosopher and Writer


“Happiness will come, the new generation is here.”

Svyatolslav Vakarchuk, Member of Parliament of Ukraine


“Blair famously said ‘Education, Education, Education’, our (Ukrainian) PM only said the word education once in his speech earlier today. Education fills every citizen’s life.

Anna Novosad, Minsiter of Education and Science for Ukraine

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Jeffrey Sachs
Jeffrey Sachs
Professor, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«Societies have to spend most of their time looking forward.»