President Michel's message to the Ukrainian Congress of local and regional authorities
European Council / Council of the European Union
Statements and remarks
27 April 2022 17:30
I would like to send you â€” and all Ukrainians â€” a warm and fraternal greeting from the European Union and our 450 million citizens. For over two months, we have watched with horror the martyrdom inflicted on you by Russia.
Last week I was in Kyiv. I saw with my own eyes the atrocities and devastation in Borodyanka. I have no words to describe the outrage and compassion I felt. These are war crimes. They must be punished, and they will be punished.
I also witnessed the extraordinary courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people. The courage of your army and your leaders, your fighting spirit, your determination to defend your homeland, and the future of your children. Your brave resistance has inspired Europe and the free world. You are fighting for your freedom, but you are also defending our freedom and our common European values.
That is why the European Union has rallied behind you from the very beginning. For the first time in our history, we are sending weapons to support your armed forces - EUR 1.5 billion in military equipment. We are also welcoming millions of your citizens who have had to flee their country.
Putin will not win this war. You will win it. We must already start acting to rebuild and to support Ukraine's long-term economic development. It is not about building back the Ukraine of 23 February ... before Russia's war. Rather, the goal must be to combine investments and reforms to rebuild the Ukraine of the future.
That is why I fully embrace President Zelenskyy's ambitious vision for Ukraine: modern, prosperous, forward-looking, and part of our European family. The European Union will be at your side to help rebuild your country and to forge the European future of Ukraine.
That is precisely why the 27 EU leaders have decided to create a Solidarity Trust Fund for Ukraine. The European Commission is already working on it. I hope the donors' conference on 5 May will provide concrete resources. We are also working closely with international organisations â€” such as the IMF and World Bank â€” to mobilise more financial support.
Of particular interest to all of you here today: President Zelenskyy shared with me his concept for twinning EU cities and regions with Ukrainian cities and regions in need of reconstruction. I believe this is a good idea to help revive cities destroyed and traumatised by war. I fully support it.
All of you present today, you are the grassroots leaders across Ukraine. You know best what your citizens need in your towns and regions. You will be the builders and organisers on the ground, the critical local link to rebuilding your new Ukraine. And local and regional leaders in the EU â€” like yourselves â€” are best placed to understand your needs and to offer practical, concrete, and operational expertise.
These twinnings will also engage Ukrainian citizens with EU citizens, building person-to-person links that will bring our peoples closer together. I have also asked the President of the European Committee of the Regions to support this project.
Your role as local and regional leaders will be pivotal in building the future of Ukraine. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. We both want the same things â€” peace, prosperity, and a confident future for our children.
Long live Europe!
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