Centre right MEPs says Europe is “deeply indebted” to people in Ukraine.
Their comments comes as the war with Russia enters its second year.
Just over one year since the start of the bitter conflict an EPP Group delegation is visiting Ukraine this week.
Comment came from Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group, who is leading the delegation.
The German MEP said, “Today we told our Ukrainian friends that Ukraine can count on the EPP Group for as long as it takes to win the war and rebuild Ukraine.”
“Europe is deeply indebted to the Ukrainian people, they are paying the highest price for protecting our way of life. Only they can decide on their future”, said Weber.
The EPP says it has strongly pushed for Ukraine to receive EU membership candidate status in June last year.
“Now we need to make this a reality. We want the accession negotiations to start this year. It will not be an easy process, but nobody doubts the resolve of the Ukrainian people. We are in Kyiv to tell them that we will support them in any way we can and as long as it takes”, Weber underlined.
The similar support applies to Ukraine’s future as an integral part of Europe’s security arrangements.
“We need Ukraine in the EU and in NATO. Ukraine has the strongest and most experienced armed forces in Europe. We look forward to the NATO summit in Vilnius with great expectations and call on NATO Member States to give clear and strong security guarantees for Ukraine. We are confident that Ukraine’s NATO membership would greatly contribute to European security”, said Rasa Juknevičienė MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chair responsible for Foreign Affairs.
In Kyiv, the delegation met with the Speaker of the Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk, representatives of Ukraine’s Verhovna Rada, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ohla Stefanishyna, Deputy Minister of Defence Oleksandr Polinchuk, as well as representatives of the EPP sister parties. Together with Members of Parliament, the delegation paid its respects to the fallen defenders of Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war. It also commemorated the victims of the Holocaust in Ukraine.
The delegation is being led by Weber with Deputy Chairs Juknevičienė and Paulo Rangel as well as Michael Gahler the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur for Ukraine, Sandra Kalniete, the EP Rapporteur on Ukraine in the International Trade Committee.
She overlooked the €18 billion Macro-Financial Assistance for Ukraine for 2023. Others involved include Marian-Jean Marinescu who overlooks solidarity lines for Ukraine and negotiated the automatic recognition of Ukrainian drivers’ licenses in the EU, and Andrius Kubilius, the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur for Russia and co-Chair of the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly, Euronest.