Interview with Marta Barandiy, founder of civil society network Promote Ukraine and editor-in-chief of Brussels Ukraїna Review, and Maryna Yaroshevych, head of advocacy at Promote Ukraine.

The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is the opportunity for the EU to become a genuine union of European citizens that should include Ukrainians, according to Marta Barandiy and Maryna Yaroshevych from a Brussels-based civil society network dedicated to supporting Ukraine.

Since at least 2013, Ukrainians have been proving their dedication to European integration. How would you characterise the evolving perception of the EU in Ukraine, especially taking into consideration the changes caused by the previous and the ongoing Russian invasion?

Marta Barandiy: Since the early 2000s, there has been a growing interest in the EU among Ukrainians ranging from political declarations to academic courses dedicated to European integration. Education played an important role in shaping the pro-European mentality of the new generation, which was later reflected in Ukraine’s dedication to the EU.

In 2004, we had the Orange Revolution because we wanted justice and transparency, the rule of law, open borders and closer ties with Europe.

In 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign the EU-Ukraine association agreement under the influence of Vladimir Putin, which triggered Ukraine to stand up for Europe. In 2014, many Ukrainians – probably the only people in the world – died under and for the European flag. Since then, we have been fighting against Russia for our choice and right to be in the EU.

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