Ukraine, Austria: Permanent partners or new opportunities
Several official delegations from the Austrian Republic arrived in Ukraine last week. Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was the first to come to Kyiv to meet with Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine. The main topics for discussion were recent keeping European sanctions against Russia and bilateral cooperation in the field of culture and restoration of Donbas. The leaders of both countries made it clear that the meeting was productive and necessary. As a result, 2019 will be the year of Ukrainian culture in Austria. The Austrian Republic will continue to provide funding to support people in eastern Ukraine and allocate one million euros for humanitarian aid to Donbas residents.
A few days later, a new Austrian delegation arrived in Kyiv. It consisted of Austrian parliamentarians, members of the Friendship Group between Austrian and Ukrainian parliaments, headed by a representative of The Freedom Party of Austria, Robert Lugar.
The delegation arrived at the invitation of the co-chairman of the deputy group on inter-parliamentary relations with the Austrian Republic, People's Deputy, Volodymyr Bandurov.
The main purpose of the visit of the Austrians was not only acquaintance with Ukraine, but also the work of the Verkhovna Rada. The parties considered the prospects for further economic cooperation, legal enforcement of investment climate in Ukraine and attracting Austrian investments in the economy of our country.
The visit of the Austrians was very fruitful and busy. During their stay in Ukraine, Austrian parliamentarians met with Ukrainian deputies and government officials, namely, with the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine- the Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Minister of Infrastructure.
But the main task for Austrian parliamentarians was to see Ukraine and its opportunities for themselves.
The delegation got acquainted with the past of Ukraine and its religion, visiting one of the most prominent historical places of Ukraine - the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
And while visiting the Unit City Innovation Park, the Austrian delegation saw the future of Ukraine and its opportunities. This is not surprising, as for today UNIT City is one of the largest hubs of innovation in Central and Eastern Europe. This is an entry point into Ukraine for investors, partners and new technologies from around the world. Eighty-five resident companies are located here and there are more than 350 jobs. The UNIT Factory IT school has 800 students.
During a short stay in Ukraine, Austrian parliamentarians had some time to visit Odesa, where they took part in the presentation of ADA / UNDP Project and visited the port of TIS, one of the largest ports in Ukraine.
ADA / UNDP Project gives Ukrainians an opportunity to open up new horizons for themselves, to realize their dreams. It supports strategic initiatives aimed at capacity-building to promote comprehensive growth and sustainable human development. It strives to support Ukraine in overcoming poverty, human potential development, getting fair outcome, environmental protection and promotion of democratic governance.
- Austria plays an important role in the European community, - Vladimir Bandurov said. - Therefore, every politician should understand the importance of being its strategic partner in political and economic sense for us. We are interested in deepening economic cooperation between our countries and we must ensure at the legislative level the investment climate in Ukraine that will attract our partners.
Thus, the main purpose of this visit of Austrian parliamentarians was to introduce Ukraine's investment opportunities. We must persuade our Austrian colleagues that investing in Ukrainian economy is very profitable, that Ukraine will always be open and friendly to Austria. Is there anything we can offer for Austrian business? Definitely, yes. This is an attractive IT market, where Ukraine is one of the world leaders. This is an agro-industrial complex, one of the most powerful in Europe. These are attractive offers in the renewable energy sector. We have a chance to attract Austrian investments into Ukraine. But for this purpose we have to be open and ready for cooperation.
The visits of Austrian delegations to Ukraine have shown that Austria remains a reliable partner in political, economic and humanitarian sectors for our country. Austria is ready not only to support Ukraine regarding integration into the European community, but also to invest in our economy and development of our society. The Austrian side has repeatedly emphasized that Ukraine is an equal partner and Ukrainian markets are very interesting to Austrian business. But is Ukraine ready for such cooperation in European format? Fruitful preparation for Austrian visits and presentation of investment markets of Ukraine say that we are ready. But some Ukrainian politicians should understand that and forget about cheap PR and preparation for election, finally prioritizing the interests of the state and its development. Ukraine has no right to waste neither time nor its reliable European partners, which is the Austrian Republic.