Today’s guest of our regular feature “Our Country through Foreigners’ Eyes” is Marc Vinck, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Belgium to Ukraine. Like other ambassadors, foreign politicians, and experts, he was asked to comment on (1) his impressions of Ukraine and (2) to list three reasons to love Ukraine.
1. I like using the concept of high potential. We can see that your country has a great deal of potential. One of my colleagues recently told your newspaper that Ukraine is like a small museum of Europe. I would say that he has a point, but Ukraine is also a laboratory for everything new in Europe. This is my fifth posting as an Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium. In your country one becomes aware of the fantastic contrast between a country with an important and exciting past and a great deal of potential in its future. This is why visiting your country creates such dynamics, contrasts, and inspiration. To begin with, we find it exciting to take part in your dynamics. This country is in the process of switching from an authoritarian to a fully democratic system, so it is especially gratifying to see that recipes for a successful transition to democracy are present in your country. A powerful media effectively controlled by journalists is one of the recipes for successful democratization. Another element in the successful transition to full democracy is a society that can organize itself and assume responsibility for its politicians. I could also point out the dynamics of your private sector, business growth, adequate collaboration between your civic parties and organizations that have brought this private sector together; all these dynamics are present in your country.
We were very impressed by the way the population took part in the election process. Another element that may be regarded as an achievement of your country in the past 15 years is that democracy is now on peoples’ minds. At the same time, I would like to point out that the Danish observers [sic] were amazed at how warmly they were greeted in Ukrainian cities. They felt that Ukrainians were open-hearted and genuinely interested in my country and Europe in general.
2. We are sent abroad to establish good relations with the host country. One of the important aspects of achieving the success your diplomatic profession is the ability to develop a love for the host country. I can assure you that it is not difficult for a diplomat to appreciate your country because it is truly an enchanting part of Europe.
Any diplomat will find working here interesting for a number of reasons, including your transition to democracy, Euro-Atlantic orientation, and Ukraine’s strategic role in the transportation of energy resources.
It serves my country’s interests to develop close relations with Ukraine and help business and investments flow into your country.