We will come back from this together - President Metsola in Kyiv 


Addressing the second International Summit of Cities and Regions in Kyiv, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said that the European Parliament will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

President Zelenskyy, dear Volodymyr,
Prime Minister Shmyhal, dear Denys,
Chairman Stefanchuk, dear Ruslan,
Dear Andriy Yermak,
Dear Oleksiy Kuleba, 
Ministers, Governors, Mayors and Distinguished Guests,

Dear friends,

Europe starts in its regions, in its cities and in its villages. And there is no better place to emphasise that than here - on this day - at this International Summit, organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under President Zelenskyy, in the great country of Ukraine. Thank you for your invitation and for giving me the privilege of addressing you. 

The images we have seen from Ukraine over the past 806 days have been of destruction, of death, of innocent lives torn apart. Of women, children and the elderly, forced to abandon their homes and their lives. 

But Europe and the world have also seen the Ukrainian peoples’ courage and defiance in the face of Russian aggression. We have seen how terror cannot intimidate, how no amount of bombs will ever destroy your pride and your dignity. It is why your regions, your cities, your villages - your brave warriors and Ukrainian heroes - are known across the world, and why they will continue to inspire generations of people for years to come. 

From the very beginning of this brutal war, the European Union understood the role it must play. The responsibility that it has towards your country and your people. You are not only fighting to protect your homes and your territory. You are fighting for what we believe in – which is Europe’s way. 

Today is Europe Day - we understand that the spirit of Europe is alive in every Ukrainian region and city. 

That is why we stood with you from the very start. Why we will continue to stand with you in condemning the aggressor, in adopting sanctions against the Kremlin and in holding all perpetrators of war crimes to account. Why we will continue to provide diplomatic, political, humanitarian, financial and military support. Why we will continue to do all of this for as long as it takes. 

And here, no village is too small, no effort is too insignificant. In fact, when the world bore witness to Putin’s limitless aggression, when Russia's missiles specifically targeted civilian infrastructure, and the European Parliament launched its Generators of Hope campaign, cities and municipalities across the continent came together like never before to donate hundreds of generators to help keep essential facilities in Ukraine running. I know some of the representatives of those many places are here today. I want to use this occasion, as we all meet together in the same room, to thank you from the bottom of my and the European Parliament’s heart. Thank you. 

It was also in this same spirit of solidarity, that European towns and cities opened their arms, their homes and hearts to millions of Ukrainian people fleeing the Kremlin’s bombs and missiles at the start of the war. Also then, the European Union swiftly backed this up with concrete action. By activating the temporary protection directive, we enabled Ukrainian people to build their lives and their livelihoods by granting them access to jobs, housing, healthcare, social support and education for their children. It was the very best of Europe on full display.

And yet, as Russia's brutal war against your country raged on, and as the weeks turned into months, and the months turned to years, it became increasingly clear that the Ukrainian people longed for their homeland and their freedom. 

In schools in Tallinn - Estonia and in Otwock - Poland, in Lisbon - Portugal and in Brussels - Belgium, I met with Ukrainian students who spoke about their wish to return to Ukraine. I left those schools feeling emotional and with a heavy heart - often carrying their drawings of their foregone but never forgotten homes. Homes that are safe from missiles, homes of re-united families, homes in Ukrainian towns and cities that are free and European.

Dear friends,

This brings me to Ukraine's future as a member of the European Union, a promise we made to you last December. A promise to you that the European Parliament pushed for from the very first day. A promise that we must - and we will - deliver on. 

The road to accession will of course be challenging. Ukraine’s journey is unique in that it will also need to take into account the urgency of reconstructing Ukraine's infrastructure, economy, workforce and communities. But here too, the European Union and the European Parliament stand ready to help. 

We will come back from this - together.

Because Ukraine is Europe and Europe is Ukraine.
And that is our partnership for victory. 

Slava Ukraini. 

You can read the President's speech in Ukrainian here.