Happy 30th anniversary to Ukraine!
This European country with its strong spirit and history has more than a millennium of years. Kyiv Rus’ royalty was married into influential European families. And Kyiv is known to be the birthplace of Russia and Belarus. Poland and Ukraine share a common history and traditions of the Commonwealth of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which played a valuable role in shaping the political, legal, and cultural history of Europe as well as of Ukraine in particular. The future of modern Ukraine is in the European Union.
As a standing rapporteur on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement at the European Parliament, I had the privilege to put a major cornerstone in EU-Ukraine relations. The visa-free travel for Ukrainians was another major milestone that has brought the citizens of Ukraine closer together with their friends in the EU. This conclusion both seemed unrealistic and unattainable to many. As a witness to both Maidans, I had a firm belief that with the value-oriented and pro-EU spirit of demonstrators, we can achieve much. As history testified, we have achieved both objectives – the Association Agreement was adopted, and Ukrainians were granted a right to travel to the EU with no visas.
For the last few years, Ukraine has been facing many challenges, such as ongoing war with Russia as well as internal struggles to build a democratic state robust to external attacks. However, I firmly believe that Ukraine is strong to combat them, and we, your friends, will be there to support you.
Our common next step should be NATO and EU membership. Someone might say again that it is unrealistic and unattainable. However, I wish you Ukrainians dream big. We will work on our dream together.
Dr Jacek Saryusz-Wolski
Polish MEP, member of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, First Polish Minister for European Affairs (1991-1996 & 2000-2001)
Decorated with the Ukrainian Order of Merit of 1st Class