Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Exactly one year ago, the full-scale Russian invasion began, changing the lives of millions of Ukrainians. The rest of Europe had a rude awakening. After decades of peace in the continent, the daily news again revolved around battles and war crimes. Battles in Ukraine between soldiers fighting for sovereignty on one side and imperial annexation on the other. Outside Ukraine, Europe struggled with sanctions, rising energy prices, and inflation, and with the contradiction that weapon delivery means the only chance for peace for Ukraine.
“A year ago, Europe finally woke up to reality: Putin won’t back down. He will continue to senselessly murder people unless he is stopped by force and threatened by failure. We need to face that reality by first and foremost supporting Ukraine, and second by getting our own defense capabilities in order within a European army.” demands Damian Boeselager, Volt’s Member of the European Parliament. He has worked on a full gas embargo from the beginning to support Ukrainians from Brussels. “I will continue my efforts of last year to make this war as expensive as possible for Putin, to welcome Ukrainians in Europe, and to help with funds, weapons, and equipment!”.
All over Europe, people responded in any way they could in solidarity and support for Ukraine’s sacrifices: From collecting donations to protesting against the Russian aggression, or holding politicians accountable: major mobilisation brought much-needed humanitarian relief, sanctions, and weapons delivery. But there is still much to do: Europe needs to unite more than ever!
Anastasiia Vozovych is one of the Members of Volt Ukraine, which was founded in July 2022. To her, Ukraine’s future is in the EU: “Although we have an ongoing war, we should already start pondering ways of rebuilding Ukraine, revitalizing its economy, and integrating Ukraine economically and politically into the European family. We would then get closer to a common bright future in a more united Europe.”.
The challenges of today, not only limited to the war in Ukraine and its consequences, can simply not be solved with strictly national structures.
Francesca Romana D’Antuono, Co-President of Volt Europa, points out the responsibility and power of pan-European coordinated actions: “By engaging citizens locally and taking political actions at all levels, it is possible to create a positive impact for Ukraine beyond national perspectives and interests.”.
Co-President Reinier van Lanschot adds: “Our common values as European citizens unite us and give us strength to support Ukraine. From local elected Volters in Munich creating a positive climate for Ukrainian refugees, to our Dutch members of parliament calling on the government to pledge concrete support, and our MEP in Brussels advocating for a Russian gas embargo, Volt Europa clearly believes Ukraine’s future is in the EU!”.
Anastasiia points out that “Sticking to the Copenhagen criteria is not only about ticking the boxes the EU Member States expect from us.”. The reform process deals with improving Ukraine per se and building a country where there is no place for corruption, red tape, and old habits. “A European perspective along with a civil society is much wanted in Ukraine, to ensure that this reform process is implemented in a proper way.” she underlines.
It is important to intensively work together with Ukraine to step by step incorporate the country into EU institutions, structures, and networks. Much has been destroyed by Russia – why not rebuild it with Ukraine’s European future in mind? Ensure buildings and infrastructure follow EU guidelines; increase ties between Ukrainian and EU civil society; promote European values. Ukraine’s stance is clear: they feel European, and they want to be a part of the European Union. It is now up to us, as established members, to support our siblings in their fight to win the war against Russia, for a stable, prosperous, and European peace.
We are determined to continue supporting Ukraine’s fight for a European future, from every point in the continent, until every Ukrainian regains their right to peace, self-determination, and democracy!
- Damian Boeselager, MEP Volt Europa
- Anastasiia Vozovych, Policy Co-Lead Volt Ukraine
- Francesca Romana D’Antuono, Co-President Volt Europa
- Reinier van Lanschot, Co-President Volt Europa