President E. Czolij presents UWC’s position on Ukraine to the XIX Meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and high-ranking European Union officials
June 21, 2012
PRESIDENT EUGENE CZOLIJ PRESENTS UWC POSITION ON UKRAINE TO THE XIX MEETING OF THE EU-UKRAINE PARLIAMENTARY COOPERATION COMMITTEE AND HIGH-RANKING EUROPEAN UNION OFFICIALS
On June 13-14, 2012, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij participated in the XIX Meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. He also had the opportunity to present UWC’s position on the importance of Ukraine’s Euro-integration and democratization to the former European Parliament President, Jerzy Buzek, the European Parliament Vice-President, Jacek Protasiewicz, and the Co-Chairs of the EU‑Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Pawel Kowal and Borys Tarasyuk. The UWC President then met with the local Ukrainian community.
During the XIX Meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Eugene Czolij delivered a compelling statement urging the Committee to increase its efforts to reach out to the Ukrainian people and strengthen Ukraine’s fragile civil society. Drawing attention to the pressure being exerted on Ukraine to enter into a Russia-dominated Euroasian economic union of former Soviet Republics, the UWC President underscored the crucial role of the international community in helping Ukrainians understand the benefits of Euro-integration while ensuring that the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Ukraine do not mirror the recent Presidential elections in Russia.
“[…] Ukrainian voters need to know that the international community will not only be monitoring the Ukrainian elections, but that the Ukrainian people will not be abandoned if Parliamentary power is seized through fraud or by force. A clear message must be sent that human rights violations and electoral fraud will result in personal sanctions against those who engage in such activities, such as visa revocation, prohibition to transact business in the EU, and freezing of assets,” stated Eugene Czolij.
Moreover, the UWC President also made the following statement during a discussion of an address by Ambassador Stefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy:
“On behalf of the Ukrainian World Congress, I congratulate you for reaching out to Ukraine’s fragile civil society, as well as to Ukrainian youth and students, since they are the future of Ukraine and they support the European course.
I also found very refreshing your comments that the issues of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko are not about personalities but rather about the commitment of Ukrainian authorities to fundamental values.
Ukraine’s authorities are so focused on the cases of Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko that they do not even realize that it is they, as well as Ukraine’s MPs here today and those in Kyiv, that are on trial before history and the international community as to whether they will espouse European fundamental values and respect for human rights or be accessories and defenders of an authoritarian course.”
Eugene Czolij also had a brief conversation with Commissioner Füle. He highlighted the results of a poll conducted by the Sociological Group Rating and the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, which revealed that Ukraine’s integration into the European Union is most widely supported by young and higher educated Ukrainians, as well as by Ukrainian citizens who have had the opportunity to experience the lifestyle in any EU member state, or in the United States or Canada. As a result, the UWC President called upon the EU to inform Ukrainians more broadly about European values while focusing efforts on youth and students.
The result of the XIX Meeting of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee was the adoption of a Final Statement and Recommendations.
During his visit to Strasbourg, the UWC President met with the community during a gathering organized by the President of the France-Ukraine Economic Circle Ivanna Pinyak. This meeting offered an opportunity to present the work of the UWC, learn about local community issues and discuss ways to strengthen cooperation.
The UWC is an international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. The UWC has member organizations in 32 countries and ties with Ukrainians in 14 additional countries. Founded in 1967 as a non-profit corporation, the UWC was recognized in 2003 as a non-governmental organization (NGO) by the United Nations Economic and Social Council with special consultative status.