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    HomeNewsPresident Metsola in Ukraine on Europe Day

    President Metsola in Ukraine on Europe Day

    In Kyiv on 9 May 2024, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola met with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, addressed the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and met its Chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk.

    President Zelenskyy

    Presidents Metsola and Zelenskyy discussed Ukraine’s EU accession negotiations, the upcoming Peace Summit in Switzerland and the European Parliament’s support for President Zelenskyy’s 10 point peace plan, air defence, sanctions against Russia and the use of profits from Russian frozen assets for Ukraine’s defence and recovery.

    President Metsola was decorated with an Order of Merit, First Class by President Zelenskyy.

    Presidents Zelenskyy and Metsola spoke to the press after their meeting. President Metsola said:

    “The European Parliament will help Ukraine in any way possible to advance on all the necessary steps on its European path. We will remain as vocal as ever on Ukraine, as my visit today also demonstrates.”

    “This year marks 20 years of the accession of my home country, Malta, and along with it, nine other Member States, to the European Union. I have seen the transformative effect of the European Union enlargement. The opportunities and security that come with it. As today the people of Ukraine are looking to Europe, with the same sense of hope and belief in our common future that we had then, Europe cannot be the one to look away.

    We will stand with you. You will win and our future will be a common one. Slava Ukraini!”

    You can watch the recording of the press conference here.

    Verkhovna Rada

    During the afternoon, President Metsola met with Ruslan Stefanchuk, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and addressed the plenary session of the Rada.

    In her address to the Rada, President Metsola said:

    On Ukraine and Europe:

    “Ukraine has made its European choice and Europe has made its Ukrainian choice. That is the true victory we will celebrate together every 9th of May. Today.

    On this day, we celebrate Europe. And there is no better or more significant place to do that than here – where the spirit of Europe is present in your cities, in your villages and etched in the bravery of your people.

    The defiance of Ukraine, your courage, your strength – epitomise what it means to be European.”

    On three promises to Ukraine:

    “The last time I was in this Chamber I made three promises to you, promises that I am proud to say the European Union, the European Parliament, has delivered on.

    In the past two years, we stood resolute and firm against Putin’s intimidation tactics, and cut our dependencies from Russia. We have adopted 13 packages of hard-hitting sanctions against Putin and his allies, …. which means that hundreds of billions of euros worth of Russian assets are now frozen in the EU.

    I promised that Europe would open up its borders, its homes and hearts to your families, your children, your loved ones, who were forced to flee. … We said we would help you to rebuild your cities, your towns, your villages. The adoption of the 50 billion euro Ukraine Facility is our most recent tangible support for that.

    I also told you that you could count on me, on the European Parliament, to recognise Ukraine’s European aspirations and to support you as you make headway on your country’s integration into the EU. … The European Parliament was the first EU institution to push for Ukraine to receive candidate status and for accession negotiations to start last year. …This is just as much about stability for Ukraine as it is about strengthening the entire EU. … Ukraine’s place is in the European Union.”

    On peace:

    “Europe will always stand for peace. A real peace with dignity, with integrity, with liberty, with territorial sovereignty. And we know that there can never be anything about Ukraine, without Ukraine. I mentioned the return of Ukrainian children earlier, with that we also need an urgent focus on food security and the safety of nuclear plants. These are the building blocks of humanity.”

    You can read the full speech here and watch it here.

    Chairman Stefanchuk unveiled President Metsola’s plaque on the Walk of the Brave at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

    Programme in Kyiv

    In Kyiv, President Metsola visited a school and a power plant, both destroyed by Russia’s ruthless air strikes. The indiscriminate targeting of civilian infrastructure demonstrates the urgent need for more efficient air defence systems and funding for reconstruction. In her remarks to the press with President Zelenskyy, President Metsola said:

    “We are painfully aware, that Ukraine urgently needs more equipment and air defence systems to defend itself against the aggressor. We Europeans need to deliver. We need to take responsibility, intensify our support and deliver on our financial support.

    This is why our decision on the EUR 50 billion Ukraine Facility was so important. And I also welcome the more recent American decision to provide vital and significant financial and military support to Ukraine. Together, this provides a predictable and secured financing to meet the State’s needs and the demands of its reconstruction efforts.”

    President Metsola also addressed the International Summit of Cities & Regions, along with President Zelenskyy, Chairman Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Shmyhal, underlining the role of cooperation between regions and cities in Ukraine’s reconstruction. In her speech she thanked European cities and regions for having made significant contributions to the Generators of Hope campaign, initiated by the European Parliament, as well as the importance of cities and regions in welcoming Ukrainians who had to flee the war.

    You can watch her address here.

    President Metsola also visited the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University where she delivered a keynote speech and held a discussion with students. The University awarded her with a Honorary Doctorate degree.

    Later in the day, the President visited the Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights. One of its many aims is the return of the more than 19,500 Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russia. In her speech to the Rada, President Metsola said: “We need to deepen our resolve to bring every single Ukrainian child back to their families, back to their own homes.”

    All audiovisual material of the visit will be available on the European Parliament’s multimedia centre.

    Background:

    From the first moment of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the European Parliament has been the staunchest supporter of Ukraine by being the first EU institution to call for granting Ukraine EU candidate status and later to open the accession negotiations.

    The European Parliament organised an extraordinary plenary session on 1 March 2022, in which President Zelenskyy spoke to the world via videolink. President Zelenskyy addressed the Parliament in person on 9 February 2023.

    President Metsola was the first leader of EU institutions to visit Kyiv after the Russian attack, on 1 April 2022, addressing the Verkhovna Rada. She also visited Lviv on 4 March 2023 to address the United for Justice Conference.

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    We acknowledge The European Times for the information.

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