Germans are interested in economic and scientific cooperation with Ukrainians – diplomat


Ukrainian Consul in Frankfurt am Main envisages activities of Ukraine’s diplomatic mission and diaspora’s efforts in strengthening humanitarian and economic ties between Germany and Ukraine. 

Main work directions of Ukraine’s Consulate in Frankfurt am Main are support to cultural projects, maintaining ties with Ukrainian diaspora of the area, economic, scientific and educational cooperation. Alla Polyova, Consul General of Ukraine in Frankfurt am Main, provided details of the activities speaking via Skype at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) in the framework of UCMC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine project “Diplomacy without borders”.

The war and Ukraine’s perception
According to Alla Polyova, in late 2014 when she just arrived in Frankfurt am Main, Ukraine was perceived as a “territory of war”. There were serious doubts as to whether one should and is able to establish any other form of cooperation with Ukraine but humanitarian. “Thanks to the reforms that are advancing as well as to the information that we’re communicating, this fear is going away. People understand that the war is on but it covers only part of the territory. There is interest both in business and scientific cooperation at regional level, especially in Western Ukraine,” said the Consul. Following long break cooperation between the twin cities of Darmstadt and Uzhgorod is gaining a new spin, they plan to renew economic ties.

Media start actively mentioning Ukraine mostly when the situation in the combat zone escalates. At the same time local media often cover joint cultural projects as well as projects for children. As to the Russian propaganda, one feels its influence in Germany. It gets even more complicated as along with three-four printed Russian media in the area there are no Ukrainian medium. “Ukrainian TV channels have codified access, it is next to impossible to watch them on the Internet while Russian TV channels are available.  It is what the Ukrainians who live here tell us. They would like to read the newspapers in Ukrainian and watch Ukrainian TV channels, but it is not possible,” explained the Consul. “I am constantly reporting this to the Ministry and we are discussing it,” she added.

Humanitarian cooperation
The Consulate joins the projects of local volunteer groups that often organize visits to Germany for children of combat veterans. According to Alla Polyova, there are a lot of these groups and they are quite active. Summer camps projects for children are being discussed with mayors of towns however it’s mostly volunteer or diaspora groups who directly initiate them. “This year we have organized two big visits: “Marburg convoy plus” and Kharkiv charity organization brought in 25 children whose parents were killed or heavily wounded. Second group came from Novohrad-Volynsky of Zhytomyr region,” the Consul said. Benefactor Mrs. Sobelska with the support of a local Evangelical Church parish organized a summer camp for them. Last year children from Lviv region visited Saarland on an educational and leisure program.

Ukrainian books at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Borys Lozhkin’s book “The Fourth Republic. Why Europe Needs Ukraine and Ukraine, Europe” was one of Ukrainian books presented at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. The book was presented in four languages including German. After the presentation there was a discussion “Ukraine’s meaning for contemporary Europe. Ukraine’s economic potential and investment attractiveness”. “There were other discussions and this one was most popular with the public, there were many visitors, even despite of the fact that it was the day for professionals not for the wide audience,” Polyova said. “The Best of Ukraine” book also stirred much interest with the public.

Forecast for 2017
Far right moods are spreading quickly in the society, especially following the shock from terrorist acts. “The far-right party is not going to win the elections but unfortunately they have quite a high level of support,” noted the Consul. She said Germans themselves are very much alarmed about the tendency as well. “They have already lived through it and they do not want it ever again. German journalist Michael Tripan wrote a piece where he emphasized that the most important thing is not to be afraid as the fear leads to fear and mistrust, fear makes us blind and aggressive. It was an appeal to the German society called to stop the unpleasant scenarios that may happen in 2017,” she added.