Ukrainian World Congress President concludes working visit to Brussels to strengthen international support for Ukraine
20-22 April 2015 Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij concluded a working visit to Brussels, Belgium, where he met with high-ranking officials of the European Union, NATO and Belgium, the current chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The meetings focused on strategically strengthening support for Ukraine prior to the upcoming EU-Ukraine Summit in Ukraine and the Summit of the Eastern Partnership in Riga, Latvia.
During the meetings, Eugene Czolij called for further effective actions on the part of the international community, including the strengthening of sanctions against the Russian Federation and providing arms for the defence of the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which continues to stand firm in the face of unabated military aggression by the Russian Federation, preventing its advance into the heart of Europe.
The UWC President highlighted the imperativeness of the international community joining forces to combat Russian disinformation with respect to the illegal annexation of Crimea, the military aggression in Ukraine and the attack on western principles and values. He informed officials about the communication work of the UWC and the readiness to cooperate on this issue with European institutions and NATO.
Eugene Czolij also accentuated the plight of individuals internally displaced from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, the numbers of which have surpassed one million, and shared UWC’s experiences in providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine, specifically the initiative Patriot Defence. The UWC President called upon the international community to increase humanitarian aid for Ukraine and proposed to European institutions and NATO cooperation with UWC.
Eugene Czolij also called upon the international community to react effectively to human rights violations in the Russia-occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as outlined in the extensive report by the Atlantic Council of the United States and Freedom House, and to support the reform process in Ukraine by actively promoting its Euro-integration, providing a substantial financial assistance package akin to the Marshall Plan and implementing a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens.
During the course of this visit the UWC President met with Patriarch Filaret, Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate to discuss the current situation in Ukraine.
In addition, Eugene Czolij met with the local Ukrainian community at an event organized by Association of Ukrainians in Belgium during which time he highlighted UWC’s activities in defence of Ukraine and received an update on the work of the Ukrainian community in Belgium. He also discussed joint priorities for the near future with the President of the Association of Ukrainians in Belgium, Ihor Chocholak.
The UWC President was accompanied by the coordinator of his visit to Brussels, Maryna Yaroshevych.
“All meetings were constructive, furthered the strengthening of ties between the UWC and the international community, and highlighted the importance of strengthening support for Ukraine in its defence of fundamental European values, stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.
The UWC President met with the following high-ranking officials:
Brok Elmar, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Czarnecki Ryszard, Vice President of the European Parliament.
Defraigne Christine, President of the Senate of the Federal Parliament of Belgium.
Fleckenstein Knut, Vice Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Gahler Michael, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Hahn Johannes, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
Harms Rebecca, Co-Chair of the Greens-European Free Alliance and Member of the European Parliament.
Kelam Tunne, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Kionka Riina, Chief Foreign Policy Adviser in the Cabinet of the President of the European Council.
Malosse Henri, President of the European Economic and Social Committee.
Markkula Markku, President of the European Committee of the Regions.
Pabrikis Artis, Member of European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Pecsteen Marc, Chief of the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and European Affairs of Belgium.
Plenković Andrej, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.
Pomianowski Jerzy, Executive Director of the European Endowment for Democracy.
Popa Ruxandra, Deputy Secretary General for Policy of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Pranckevičius Arnoldas, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of the European Parliament.
Saryusz-Wolski Jacek, Vice Chair of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), Member of European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and Member of European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Stylianides Christos, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
Szostak Richard, Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the European Commission.
Udwin Emma, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
Vershbow Alexander, Ambassador and NATO Deputy Secretary General.
Wiegand Gunnar, Director of the Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE of the European External Action Service.
Zuleeg Fabian, Chief Executive and Chief Economist of the European Policy Centre.
In the photo from left: Archbishop Yevstratiy, J. Hahn, Patriarch Filaret, Metropolitan Epifaniy and E. Czolij.