In the framework of his working visit to Brussels, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine took part in the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament.
First of all, Ruslan Stefanchuk expressed his gratitude to the European Parliament for its unwavering support of Ukraine. "We appreciate your leadership and strong voice in the European Union, its member states and in the wider global context," he said.
At the same time, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine reminded that on 21 November, Ukraine celebrated the Day of Dignity and Freedom: "On this day, exactly ten years ago, Ukrainians came to Independence Square in Kyiv to protest against the refusal of the then government to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union." He emphasised that Ukrainians demonstrated that they shared European values and wanted to be closer to the EU.
"We are paying a huge price with the lives of our people, defending our territories," said Ruslan Stefanchuk, noting that the russian federation is demonstrating its readiness for a long war of attrition: "russia has huge resources and it would be a big mistake to believe that they are on the verge of exhaustion, they are counting on fatigue, nuclear blackmail, and a change in the world's attention to other world events."
"Ukraine is now a battlefield of democracy and totalitarianism. And it depends on our joint efforts to which side the scales will shift and what the future of Europe and the world will look like," he stressed.
At the same time, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine noted that Ukraine hopes for a positive consideration by the EU member states of the possible creation of a special section within the European Peace Fund to provide stable funding and ongoing support for Ukraine's defence needs for the period 2023-2027 in the amount of 20 billion euros.
Ruslan Stefanchuk also noted that Ukraine also needs further financial support, as the Ukrainian economy is facing extraordinary challenges: "Planning is difficult, given russia's ongoing destruction of civilian infrastructure, energy challenges and the growing costs associated with it."
In this context, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine stressed that receiving a strong signal from the European Parliament, which voted in favour of a mandate to establish a Ukraine Facility of up to €50 billion to support the recovery, reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine from 2024 to 2027, is very important.
"Ukraine fulfils its obligations in full. Ukraine is committed to further reforms and is determined to complete the legislative steps identified in the EC Report as part of the enlargement package in the near future," the Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine stressed, adding that there are already results of the implementation of two steps outlined in the EC Report. In particular, last week, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted draft laws to strengthen the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and expand the powers of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption.
"We are working with the Government to implement other recommendations of the Commission's Report and expect that the European Council will accept the Commission's recommendation and approve the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine as early as December this year," the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine said at the end of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament.