We could not have picked a more challenging, nor a more exciting place to start taping the video footage for our MOOC on The EU in Global Governance. In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets after the government refused to sign the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union at the Vilnius Summit on the Eastern Partnership. Ever since, the Independence Square (‘Maidan’ in Ukranian) resembles a sea of blue and gold – colours of both the Ukrainian and the EU flag.
Prof. Dr. Roman Petrov (left) being interviewed by Joris Larik (right)
Filming in Kyiv: The making of iversity's EU course
Little did we know our expert interview would have this as its backdrop, given that this had been planned well in advance in order to coincide with a roundtable discussion on the Vilnius Summit. The interviewee was Prof. Roman Petrov, a former Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute and now holder of a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at the prestigious Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, who kindly agreed to share his insights with us for the chapter ‘The EU and its Neighbourhood’.
MOOC production in an environment of mass protest certainly is tricky. Will there be public transport, or a general strike? Will we still find video equipment at our disposal, or has it all been taken to record the remarkable events unfolding just a few kilometres away? Will the overall situation remain safe, or need we fear an escalation of violence?
A call to join the discussion
For the people of Ukraine, their future relationship to the EU, as well as to neighbouring Russia, is the most important topic these days, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. For them, this is definitely not an abstract, academic issue. It is something that matters right here, right now, with diverging opinions and emotions running high.
Luckily, and with a bit of improvisation, we managed to sit down and pick Prof. Petrov’s brain. If you want to hear what he had to say, and join the discussion on the role of the EU in the wider world, and not least in the post-Soviet space, do join our MOOC, launching in April 2014.