The games have given the Poles and Ukrainians much pride, if not in the performance of their teams, then in the new stadiums, airports, train stations, and highways built for the occasion. They were less successful with regard to their political purpose, which was to show both countries as strong, attractive, normal European states – Poland firmly within the EU, and Ukraine on a clear European trajectory.
Poland’s European identity certainly is not in question; and it even opened a new highway from Berlin to Warsaw just days before the tournament. But Ukraine’s European aspirations are not helped by the increasingly authoritarian rule of President Viktor Yanukovych and the continued political persecution of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko.
This was a blow not just for Kyiv, but for Warsaw as well.