EUVP visit story – Mr Dmytro Laskavyi
Are you considering applying for the EUVP visit? Ever wondered how the EUVP programmes are organised and what their outcomes are? Follow the “EUVP visit stories”, featuring unique reports and testimonials from those who have joined us at the heart of the EU! Today, we present you the article written by our visitor from Ukraine, Mr Dmytro Laskavyi, who is a communications officer at the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine.
The EUVP virtual visit - a real discovery
My fascinating EUVP e-visit story started at the beginning of 2019. At that time, I worked in three areas related to the European integration of Ukraine. I was a senior communication fellow at the EU-funded Project "Support to the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement", with its short name "Association4U". At the same time, I had a job as communications adviser to the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine regarding European integration and another job as a professor at the department of international relations of the Ukrainian-Polish Higher Educational Institution "Central European University" with focus on European Studies. My lectures concerned the role of the European Union in International Relations and the place of Ukraine in European Policy.
When I had seen an announcement on a webpage of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine about the EUVP intake for 2020, there was no question to apply or not. I took the chance immediately and later was successfully selected.
My visit was initially planned for April 2020. But at that time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU and Ukraine imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns, therefore, the visit was postponed. Then I started working in the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine as a communications officer, so when luckily the EUVP offered me a virtual visit, I had a wide range of themes and issues to study during my e-meetings with the EU institutions. They included effective and fact-based communication, countering disinformation, tailoring key messages on shared values (human rights, democracy and the rule of law), social media communication challenges, the EU external and internal relations, the EU – the Council of Europe partnership, the EU – Ukraine cooperation and the implementation of Association Agreement.
During my virtual EUVP visit in the first half of December 2020, I held a series of meetings with a number of EU officials from various EU institutions and bodies:
- European Economic and Social Committee: External Relations Section;
- European External Action Service: East StratComm Task Force;
- European Commission: Directorate-General for Communication and Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (Support Group for Ukraine);
- European Parliament: Directorate-General for Communication (Directorate for Media) and the Directorate-General for External Policies of the Union.
Thanks to the excellent organization of the online agenda by the EUVP, all meetings took place as planned. All of them were interesting, lively, and useful. It sounds unbelievable, but it is true – the impressive and memorable moments of my visit were happening every day. During each meeting, I discovered something new about the EU and its institutions. The interlocutors answered all my questions and shared the best practices.
I have learnt first-hand about coordinating information campaigns for promoting European values and standards, how different EU institutions work from within, how the press services of the European Parliament, of the Parliament President and of the political groups interact. I have also found out how the European Parliament’s NewsHub works, what the challenges for spokespersons are and how the EU information policy is being implemented.
A better understanding of the structure and work of the EU institutions, a vision of European politics from a new angle of view, a higher level of awareness of the communication of European values and standards, new professional knowledge and invaluable experience conveyed by the interlocutors, exchanging contacts for cooperation – all this was gained though the EUVP virtual visit.
The EUVP virtual visit became for me a real discovery.