President Poroshenko of Ukraine to deliver Europe Lecture
President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine will deliver the Europe Lecture on 27 November in the Academy Building at Leiden University. The title of his lecture is ‘Ukraine-the Netherlands: Stability in Europe through European values’.
Poroshenko will deliver the Europe lecture during his official visit to the Netherlands. Attendance is by imitation only. The European Union and Ukraine have signed an association agreement on further cooperation in the area of politics and the economy. The Netherlands will hold an advisory referendum on this agreement in April 2016, the Dutch action group GeenPeil having collected enough signatures to warrant a referendum.
Stefaan Van den Bogaert, Professor of European Law and Director of the Europe Institute that is organising the lecture, believes that Poroshenko will certainly talk about the association agreement and about his country’s relationship with the EU. ‘Obviously, this is a sensitive issue, particularly in the Netherlands as this is where the referendum is being held. I can well understand that people in Ukraine are concerned about it. In the near future there is also the British referendum on membership of the EU, and in the Netherlands Eurosceptics would also ultimately like to have a similar referendum. Leiden University firmly endorses freedom of speech, and we therefore believe it is important that the President of Ukraine is able to express his opinion on these developments.’
President Poroshenko will most likely address a number of other important issues, such as the war with the pro-Russian separatists and the MH17 disaster. The lecture in the Academy Building is only open to invited guests, many of whom are students. After the lecture, a limited number of questions will be put to the President. Anyone who is interested in following the lecture can do so via livestreaming from 12.00 hrs on the University’s homepage.
The Europe Institute at Leiden University is organising the Europe Lecture this year for the fourth time. The lecture is an opportunity for important Europe-related issues to be discussed. Previous speakers include Herman Van Rompuy, former Chairman of the European Council; Alexander Italianer, Secretary-General of the European Commission, and Radosław Sikorski, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Poland.
(23 november 2015 - LvP)