For two days, we have welcomed the representatives of President Zelenskyy's party, Sluga Narodu (Слуга Народу) from Ukraine, who are part of our political family, during the Parliamentary session in Strasbourg in February.
The aim of the visit was to strengthen parliamentary cooperation and discuss the key issues that are important for Ukraine-EU relations today, as well as to meet with the President of the Group Stéphane Séjourné and Renew Europe MEPs.
The fruitful discussions and constructive dialogue between the colleagues from both sides only proved that we have a mutual understanding and our future belongs together.
It is almost one year since Russia started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and Ukrainian people continue to lose their lives protecting EU values and with the hope of becoming part of the EU in the very near future.
We are committed to continue our support for Ukraine and work together for Ukraine’s victory and future recovery. We understand today that we are building the European Union of tomorrow and Ukraine as part of it has a lot to offer, despite the difficult times we are all living through now.
The devastation of Ukraine
Since 24 February 2022, the Ukrainian people have bravely stood up to Russia's unprovoked and unlawful war of aggression. The ongoing aggression is a new scale of the war Russia launched against Ukraine in February 2014 after the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, during which the Ukrainian people demanded that their country follow a pro-European path. Every day, the people of Ukraine are suffering from Russian atrocities, devastation, destruction, loss of life, social and economic decline and other hardships. More than 10 million Ukrainians are living the life of internally displaced persons, and more than 6 million, mainly women with children and the elderly, have been forced to flee their homeland.
Ukraine's Accession to the EU
Ukraine was given a European perspective and granted candidate status on 23 June 2022 by unanimous agreement between the leaders of all 27 EU Member States. Candidate status was granted on the understanding that Ukraine would take some key steps.
Ukraine already accomplished two of these steps. The completed reforms relate to the composition of two high-level judicial bodies and the media sector, whose legislation was amended to align with EU standards.
Renew Europe MEP Petras Austrevicius, shadow rapporteur on Ukraine, will explain what Ukraine still has to accomplish in order to be a full member of EU and what are the other perspectives for integration during the challenging times of the war with Russia.
Click on the image to watch the live.
The heroism and unity of Ukrainians
Since the Russian war of aggression started, we have seen the heroism and unity of Ukrainians against their oppressors. Rescuing and caring for the wounded, evacuating civilians from the hot spots, providing food and shelter to those in desperate need, recording war crimes and providing support to the victims - these are examples of the hardships and devastating challenges that Ukrainians face every day.
Ukrainians are not only defending their freedom and independence and that of their country, but also European values and our continent against a brutal regime that seeks to undermine our democracy, to weaken and divide our Union, and to regain influence over the Member States that have freed themselves from Soviet rule.
We strongly condemn Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians across Ukraine.
We reiterate our call for increased military assistance, so Ukraine can protect its people.
Renew Europe condemns Russian aggression in the strongest possible terms and considers Putin to be a war criminal, whose regime bears full responsibility for all its consequences. Russia’s actions are not only an aggression against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also an attack against Europe’s security, the international rules-based order and liberal democracies. We have call upon swift and strong sanctions on Russia and Putin to make sure this horrendous war does not go unpunished.
🚨 We deplore Russia's threats, escalations & the announcement of illegal referendums in Ukraine.
A new EU sanctions package, targeting Putin's regime, is urgently needed!
At the same time, we have advocated on the EU and its Member States to work with international bodies to collect evidence and to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation of the war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Putin's regime must be held to account for its war crimes in #Ukraine.
Atrocities are being committed every day since the war in Ukraine began and are continuing to happen every day.
We must help rebuild Ukraine! We stand to make sure Russia takes responsibility for its actions also fiscally and is made to contribute in rebuilding the country. The EU will support Ukraine even now to make sure Ukrainians can recover from the damage done to their country. The only way to avoid a higher bill in the future is to start financing the reconstruction of Ukraine now. The EU must stay committed to the Ukrainian cause, because investing in Ukraine means investing in democracy, values and freedom.
🚨Exposed! The MEPs who failed to support a €1.2bn economic support package to the Ukrainian people.
A clear pathway for Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration!
In a resolution on the sustainable reconstruction and integration of Ukraine into the Euro-Atlantic community, adopted today in the European Parliament, we call on the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to set out a clear pathway for the start of the EU accession negotiations by the end of this year with a focus on providing tangible benefits for Ukrainian citizens.
“In resisting Russia’s destructive aggression, Ukraine needs not only the help of all of us, but also our continuous backing to become a full member of the Euro-Atlantic community - a deserving member of the European Union and #NATO. In no way this should be seen as a compensation for the suffering it has endured, but as a recognition of its increasing contribution to the security and prosperity of the Euro-Atlantic community”, said our shadow rapporteur MEP, Petras Auštrevičius.
In an unprecedented and unanimous reaction to Russia's war on Ukraine that began on 24 February 2022, the EU swiftly decided to make available €500 million from the European Peace Facility – followed soon after by additional financing – to fund EU military assistance and to deliver military equipment to Ukraine. For the first time in its history, the EU is using a dedicated, although off-budget, tool to finance – but not to deliver, with that responsibility falling on EU countries alone – lethal military equipment to a third country.
On the occasion of a joint parliamentary group meeting in Strasbourg between Renew Europe and a delegation of Volodymyr Zelensky's party Sluha narodu ("Servant of the People") we recorded our latest podcast. This week's guests included Ukrainian MPs Lisa Jasko, Davyd Arakhamia and Vadym Halaichuk who were joined by our MEP Nathalie Loiseau, Chair of the EP's Subcommittee on Security and Defence.
Our guests described the mood in Kyiv after a year of successful self-defence against Putin's war of aggression, the major turning points in the past 12 months and the challenges the country currently faces in terms of foreign aid and military equipment delivery. The latest EU sanction package against Russia, and the prospects of a special international tribunal to judge specific cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Ukraine are now priorities our MEPs are dealing with in their respective committees.