Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Audit. Recommendations for Foreign Policy Strategy

10:41 AM 21-12-2016

All conclusions and recommendations expressed in the publication are based on the analysis of bilateral relations between Ukraine and 17 countries, on the stakeholder surveys, and nationwide public survey.INTRODUCTION

At the time of the 25th anniversary since the independence of the Ukrainian state and after almost three years of military conflict with Russia, Ukraine is still implementing its foreign policy under the principle of ad hoc diplomacy. At present, the strategy of foreign policy to guide all relevant public institutions and officials in advocating Ukraine’s national interests is still missing.
Meanwhile, the world is entering a turbulence zone. The growing popularity of populist and right-wing forces in the EU and the United States, the protracted conflict in the East of Ukraine, the weakening of the EU as a union and its focus on internal processes, the information war waged by Russia – the list of challenges that Ukraine must be ready to face is far from exhaustive.
Moreover, foreign experts interviewed by the Institute of World Policy have warned that Ukraine cannot count on the West’s unconditional support. Today, Ukraine is already no longer a natural partner for many political forces in the West. As for other world regions, in these 25 years they never came into the focus of Ukraine’s concerted policy. Ukraine would have to learn to work with many states, from scratch – with some of them, or anew – with the others.
Thus, as of 2017, the existence of Ukraine’s foreign policy strategy and its proactive implementation are key to its survival as a state, while ‘Nobody but us!’ – the slogan of the 2014-2016 volunteer movement in Ukraine – acquires quite an international, rather than local, sense.
Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Audit, a project by the Institute of World Policy, is perhaps the most ambitious analytical attempt to fill in this strategic gap over the past two and a half decades. It is primarily distinguished by its complexity and inclusiveness: the project covers not only the reviews of bilateral relations, but also a number of interviews taken with key stakeholders. Thus, the Institute of World Policy invited those who conduct professional research of Ukraine’s foreign policy – Ukrainian and foreign experts; those who directly implement it – Ukrainian top diplomats; as well as those whose interests it is intended to represent – Ukrainian citizens – to share their vision. The overall number of those who contributed to the survey as an author, reviewer, interviewee, participant of the expert and diplomatic surveys as well as public opinion survey exceeds 1300 people.
In particular, the following activities were carried out under the project:
– Analysis of Ukraine’s relations with key Western powers (USA and Germany), influential EU partners (France, Italy, Austria, Lithuania), all its neighbours (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Belarus, the Russian Federation), the Black Sea region countries (Georgia and Turkey), and key partners in the Asia-Pacific Region (China and Japan) – a total of 17 studies of bilateral relations;
– A survey among Ukrainian and foreign experts on the issues, achievements and challenges in Ukraine’s foreign policy;
– A survey among Ukrainian ambassadors abroad;
– A public opinion poll carried out by TNS Ukraine at the request of the Institute of World Policy.

When developing recommendations, in addition to the results of the analysis and advice by experts and diplomats, we also looked into the successful practices of foreign policy ministries in other countries (Americas – USA and Canada; Europe – UK, Germany, France, Austria, Poland; the Far East – Japan; as well as countries with post-Soviet legacy, such as Lithuania and Georgia).
The results and recommendations contained in this publication are certainly not exhaustive. The Institute of World Policy will continue its work under the Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Audit project by including into its continuing analysis additional regional and multilateral aspects of Ukraine’s foreign policy. Meanwhile, even intermediate results allow for the most poignant problems of Ukrainian foreign policy to be identified and the ways for overcoming them to be suggested as well.
Thanking everyone who contributed to this research as authors, consultants, reviewers, or speakers at the project events would require an additional section. We express our gratitude to everyone who helped this project realize and hope that its results and recommendations would become a valuable contribution to the implementation of a successful and proactive foreign policy by Ukraine.

Alyona Getmanchuk, Director, Institute of World Policy


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This report was conducted within the project of the Institute of World Policy “Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Audit”. This project is implemented with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation of German Marshall Fund of the USA, and the “Think Tank Support Initiative” implemented by the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) in partnership with Think Tank Fund (TTF) with the financial support of the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine.
The contents are those of the Institute of World Policy and do not necessarily reflect the views of the German Marshall Fund of the USA, the Swedish Government, the International Renaissance Foundation, Think Tank Fund. No part of this research may be reproduced or transferred in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or including photocopying or by any information storage retrieval system, without the proper reference to the original source.