"365 Days of Invincibility [dialogues during war]"

On February 25, Kyiv hosted a round table "365 Days of Invincibility [Dialogues in Times of War]" during which SD Platform activists, educators, and trade union representatives in cooperation with experts and international partners discussed the issues of strengthening international solidarity and ways to ensure a fair recovery.
International partners and friends of the SD Platform expressed their support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian progressive movements on behalf of both European politicians and citizens of European countries.

Among the foreign speakers who addressed the issue of strengthening international solidarity support for Ukraine and the role of European social democrats, were:

- Thijs Reuten (MEP, PvdA)
- Kido Koenig (Director — Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS))
- Ana Pirtskhalava (YES Secretary General)
- Jan Marinus Wiersma (MEP (1994-2009)
- Bruno Gonçalves (IUSY Secretary General (tbc.)
- Yannick Du Pont (SPARK CEO)
  • Laszlo Andor
    (FEPS Secretary General)
    Every year, FEPS honors progressive people of the year. In 2022, the nomination was awarded to Grzegorz Pietruczuk, the mayor of Białany, Poland, who is a strong advocate for local political leadership and humanitarian aid. By choosing Grzegorz, we are highlighting an outstanding example of behavior within Poland and an example that should serve as a role model of selfless support for those fleeing their country, leaving behind the tragedies caused by Russia's brutal and unprovoked war.

    One of the most important means for strengthening international solidarity is to find tools for rapid recovery. The idea of the Marshall Plan foresees reconstruction after the war, thus reconstruction should start right now, which is possible with the support of the EBRD, the EU, and owing to cooperation between European and Ukrainian cities.

    Another important aspect of reconstruction is a social investment, which should be focused not only on physical assets and infrastructure but also on protecting the population, especially children, including those forcibly relocated to Russia. The human rights NGO "Missing children in Europe" is currently working on this issue, drawing attention to the violations of children's rights during the war, including the right to identity.
  • Vivien Constanzo
    (EuropeTalks Founder)
    It is extremely important to support Ukraine and local communities not only through words but through deeds. In this regard, crowdfunding campaigns have been launched to raise funds for generators for people in need in Ukraine, including students and teachers. This actions helped to ensure education and sustainable humanitarian activities in the context of the energy crisis.
  • Inga Naslund
    European partners are working to strengthen support for Ukrainians (for example, "energy packages" and suture materials supplies) and cooperating with Ukrainian trade unions and civil society movements to strengthen the resilience of Ukrainian society.

    Humanitarian aid is currently of the highest priority, but there is an understanding of the need to support recovery, which should provide for not only material dimension but also for the transformation of society.

    Undoubtedly, there are problems in the European political system, such as slow speed and bureaucratic obstacles, but the narrative "we also need these resources and tanks" is being transformed into "we will help you as much as you need," and increase in humanitarian and military support for Ukraine proves that.
  • Ana Pirtskhalava
    (Young European Socialists Secretary General)
    "We have to think about support not only during the war but also after it, by encouraging the reconstruction process, including the social democratic movement. In this context, an important step is to grant candidate status and support the European integration aspirations of not only Ukraine but also Moldova and Georgia.

    The candidacy should not be just a symbol of solidarity, but a signal to countries and their societies about the direction of the movement.

    It is crucial that the reconstruction process takes into account the needs of socially vulnerable groups, namely women and youth, who should be involved in the development of reconstruction policy to the fullest extent possible.
  • Stephen Humphreys
    (attorney, advisor on judicial reforms))
    The visit of U.S. President Joseph Biden is an important step that symbolizes not only solidarity with Ukraine but also sends a message to Russians and Putin about the deceptive world they live in and to American politicians who promote anti-Ukrainian narratives.

    The United States supports Ukraine, but we should not underestimate the potential domestic political risks, including the position of Donald Trump and some Republicans.

    Their position on the U.S. withdrawal from NATO and reduced support for Ukraine finds sympathy among a part of the party that poses risks for the future.
  • Yannick Du Pont
    Ukraine is much more prepared for reconstruction than other countries, which is a positive signal, as is the EU's willingness to help. However, there is criticism from international partners that grassroots and professional communities have not been engaged enough in devising preliminary decisions and initiatives that were presented on reconstruction issues.

    It is crucial that the reconstruction should be as inclusive as possible and focus not only on the capital or large cities but also on vulnerable groups of citizens who have suffered the most.

    Among the advantages of starting the reconstruction of Ukraine are the institutional capacity and our officials' activities.

    However, it is worth realizing that reconstruction is not just a gift. It is a partnership, thus the Ukrainian government could use tough bargaining. It is essential that this aid reaches the local level, and the vulnerable groups, and is not spent on institutional support for this aid.

    The outflow of young labor is also a major problem. Thus, 53% of Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands do not plan to return.

    Therefore, it is necessary to involve trade unions and youth movements in the planning of recovery and reconstruction.
  • Ilya Kusa
    (Ukrainian expert, Institute for Future)
    The system of the international order that emerged after the dissolution of the USSR was effectively destroyed by Russia's war in Ukraine. Russia is losing its status as a geopolitical actor, which on the one hand creates favorable conditions for Ukraine's potential membership in NATO, and on the other hand, starts the process of forming a new world order.

    In the new system, the United States and China become the major international political actors, the influence of the European Union is weakening, and the importance of regional powers is increasing.

    The toughest challenge for Ukraine is to find its place in the international arena, given the new geopolitical balance.

    In this context, it is essential not to ignore China's involvement in the discussions about potential arms supplies to Russia and the presentation of its peace formula. For Ukraine, it is important to ensure a dialogue with China to prevent Chinese military support for Russia.
  • Tetyana Khutor
    (IZI, Institute for Legislative Ideas, Head)
    The situation with the confiscation of Russian assets around the world has got off the ground, with numerous countries developing relevant legal mechanisms. At the same time, we should continue to promote the idea of confiscating Russian assets to compensate Ukraine for the damage caused by the Russian war.

    The total amount of such losses is currently estimated at about $750 billion. At the same time, Russian assets worth a total of $417 billion have been frozen, and $1 billion has already been confiscated.

    Currently, Canada and the United States are introducing fast-track confiscation procedures and confiscation based on the results of criminal proceedings.
  • Vasyl Andreev
    (Federation of Trade Unions, Deputy Head)
    There are several components that are important for effective reconstruction: money (international support), people (workers and entrepreneurs), low-level demand (families' need for new housing, schools, and factories), and time.

    The pre-war state of the Ukrainian construction industry was characterized by a high percentage of the shadow economy, and the potential of this industry was not developed enough.

    In order to ensure high-quality reconstruction, it is necessary to create a demand in society for fair reconstruction when Ukrainian citizens want to invest in their housing in Ukraine, to raise the prestige of the profession of constructions workers, and form an education system that allows them to quickly master basic construction skills.

    Flexible education in this area is the key to rapid reconstruction.
  • Ivanna Khrapko
    (State Employees Union of Ukraine)
    The Public Service of Ukraine has demonstrated its resilience and invincibility in the most difficult times for the country: both during the pandemic and in times of full-scale war, people continue working even under attacks.

    At the same time, public servants' salaries remain very low, and discussions on a draft law introducing a transparent and competitive formula for public servants' remuneration have been ongoing since mid-summer.

    The problem of positioning public officials as agents of transformation have not yet been resolved, which should be addressed in the context of future postwar reconstruction.
  • Dmytro Lyvch
    (Easy Business, Head)
    The recovery should take place in several directions: smart recovery, architecture recovery, economic recovery, regional infrastructure recovery, energy and sustainability, and social recovery.

    At the same time, the state is standing still, and the two state agencies have already been merged for better coordination: The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Community and Territorial Development.

    The most important thing here is the principles and foundations on which the recovery will be based. Thus, the basic principle should be built back better - to build better than before. As a result, Ukraine's recovery could encompass these three elements:

    1. Time: three stages - relief, recovery, and modernization;

    2. Architecture: developing a clear vision and plan, people in institutions, and fundraising. Particular focus should be on attracting international funds and the return of Ukrainians from abroad, which will help to form the financial and human resources architecture of recovery;

    3. Work at the local, national, and international levels, including:
    - at the regional level - strengthening communities on the local level, continuing the decentralization reform, and taking into account the needs of communities during reconstruction;
    - at the state level - shaping the strategy for economic and infrastructure development;
    - in the international arena - cooperation with the EU within the framework of candidate status.
  • Ievgeniia Shelest&Kostiantyn Palshkov feat Yevhenii Shatalov and Oxana Chub
    (NGO "Progresylni")
    During the Forum, representatives of the NGO "Progresylni/Progressive Teachers Network" presented their work on the losses, current challenges, trends, and opportunities for the post-war renewal of Ukrainian education.

    During the full-scale invasion, education suffered a number of losses, compounded by the previous impact of the budget deficit and the coronavirus pandemic:

    - destruction or damage of educational infrastructure facilities;
    - reduction of funding for higher education ;
    - loss of human resources;
    - the outflow of Ukrainian and foreign students;
    - the threat to the identity of children in the temporarily occupied and de-occupied territories.

    According to the study, 47% of educators do not have the energy to do scientific work, 7% had to change jobs, and 24.8% of respondents' educational institutions suffered during the war.

    In the context of educational reconstruction, it is essential to understand that the world does not stand still, education abroad is developing, so the renewal of the educational system should be faster to keep up with global trends.

    Thus, representatives of the NGO "Progresylni" presented their vision of the educational system development. 80% of the educators who took the survey are ready to become a driver for its implementation:

    - real autonomy and effective management;
    - dual, informal, STEAM education;
    - vocational education, digitalization of education, and online learning;
    - inclusive and safe learning;
    - academic mobility and grant activity;
    - multilingualism and digital literacy;
    - mandatory military medical training.
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