The European Parliament hosted a show of support, encouragement, but not pity for Ukraine on December 3. MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski arranged the “Solidarity with Ukraine” action in support of Euromaidans. Its name references the Polish trade union movement which united the society and helped the Poles to gain independence from the USSR.
The Day’s reporter saw a lot of people willing to support Ukraine’s European aspirations in the time he spent at the event! On seeing girls wearing embroidered shirts and standing beside yellow and blue plaques, MEPs and young EU interns approached them and asked about what was happening. Everybody was welcome to have a picture of them taken against the background of flags of Ukraine and the EU. The photos will be posted on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
“I have lived all my life in Ukraine, but I see more support for Ukraine, its democracy, values and aspirations of Ukrainians here than in the Verkhovna Rada itself,” Dana Depo, a European Parliament intern, shared her thoughts with The Day. Together with other Ukrainians, she has already held two Euromaidans in Brussels. She said these events saw MEPs and Ukrainian diaspora attending. Meanwhile, Oleksandra Seliverstova, a Brussels student from Kyiv, said this was the first event to be held in the European Parliament, preceded by two Euromaidans held by the city’s Ukrainian community and organized via Facebook by young people.
The Day also spoke to the action’s initiator Saryusz-Wolski. The MEP called the events that are now taking place in Ukraine the country’s second “European chance,” as Ukrainians wasted the opportunities opened by the Orange Revolution making it “a big disappointment.” Talking about the Kremlin’s influence at the Vilnius Summit, Saryusz-Wolski said that Europeans “were aware of the Russian pressure all along. We did not expect it to be so strong, though, and so irresistible. EU thought that such a large state as Ukraine would oppose it.” However, he answered the question “Does the EU understand that the Ukrainian government should not be equaled with its people?” thus: “Some Europeans do, but definitely not all.” The Day also asked him to comment on Foreign Minister of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara’s statement that the negotiations on the Association Agreement (AA) would be reopened shortly in Brussels. According to Saryusz-Wolski, Minister Kozhara was “deeply wrong.” “There is no way to review or reopen the AA process. One can talk about macroeconomic help for Ukraine after it starts to implement reforms and before the signing of the AA, but not vice versa. The EU will not fund it. To do this, there are many other institutions such as the IMF, with which the Cabinet Kozhara is member of has ceased negotiations. I think his tactic [declaring his intent to visit Brussels. – Ed.] aims to create an alibi, to gain time, waiting until the crowd on Euromaidan disperses because of the cold weather.”