"Tea with the Ambassador": a new format of elite communication was launched in Uzhgorod
Not all decisions are made in the offices, and the role of informal conversations at all levels can not be overestimated. Following global trends, the Director of the Regional Branch of the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Uzhgorod Svitlana Mytryayeva initiated and launched a new format for Transcarpathia - the so-called "Tea with the Ambassador." The first guest of such a meeting with representatives of Transcarpathian expert and scientific elite was the Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine Michal Bayer.
Svitlana Mytryayeva, introducing the participants, noted that the new format of communication and relationships - informal communication or "a cup of tea with Mr. Ambassador" - will allow to work in an informal environment to better understand each other's positions, and maybe to discuss issues that are not entirely suitable to be raised in an official protocol. Particular attention was paid to the European integration of Ukraine, also they spoke on the economy, education and scientific cooperation.
First of all, Svitlana Mytryayeva proposed the diplomat to tell about the priorities of Hungary's presidency of the Visegrad Four and the Central European Initiative, which Ukraine considers as a platform to expand their own European economic and political space and so on. "Hungary is one of the EU countries that are actively supporting European integration of Ukraine. However, the "critical mass" of the EU countries are still hesitant to sign the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. In this context, Ukraine hopes that Hungary will extend its "circle of friends" in the EU" - the expert said.
In response, the Ambassador reiterated Hungary's comprehensive support of Ukraine and even said: "I can testify that during the last three and a half years there have been dramatic changes in the Hungarian-Ukrainian relations. They have always been positive, but there were times when they did not have a specific content. However, today I can report much progress on issues of strategic cooperation. First of all, it is Hungary's very strong support for the integration process of Ukraine, in particular, the future Association Agreement in Vilnius. More Ukrainians realize that Ukraine can confidently rely on the Hungarian support. The second point is the economic cooperation. Hopefully, the trade between the two countries this year will exceed $ 4 billion. This is a significant contribution to the welfare of Ukraine. There is a new area of our relationship - pumping gas from Hungary to Ukraine (9.2 million cubic meters per day). Hungary is also the largest importer of Ukrainian electricity. Also there is a successful cross-border cooperation and contacts in the humanitarian sphere. In April and May of next year, by the way, in several regions of Ukraine, there will be Days of the Hungarian culture."
During the conversation, Michal Bayer expressed the respect for UzhNU and promised to support, particularly in establishing cooperation with Hungarian universities. "I know the place UzhNU takes among classical universities of Ukraine in the official rankings as well as your accomplishments. This opens up significant opportunities for partnership and cooperation in the scientific field," - the Ambassador said to the Rector of UzhNU Fedir Vashchuk. M. Bayer also told about scholarships for Ukrainian students to study in universities in Hungary.
In the end, Svitlana Mytryayeva expressed hope that Hungary would not only be the first country to actively support the prospect of signing the Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, but also the first one to ratify it.
M. Bayer, in turn, concluded that it was an eye-opening meeting. "Constructive spirit of our conversation proved that we have one goal - to make all efforts to strengthen relations between our countries. We are "bound" by the history and common border. And Hungary wants to be the number one in promoting your progress to the heart of Europe."
According to Svitlana Mytryayeva, such meetings with prominent politicians, experts, ambassadors of foreign countries will become regular.