UWC President Meets with State Officials and the Ukrainian Community in France
November 22, 2011
UWC PRESIDENT MEETS WITH STATE OFFICIALS AND THE UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY IN FRANCE
On November 17, 2011, during a visit to Paris, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) President Eugene Czolij met with high-ranking state officials and the Ukrainian community in France. Joining the UWC President were the President of the Representative Committee of the Ukrainian Community in France, Nathalie Pasternak, and the Honorary President of Perspectives Ukrainiennes, Frédéric Hnyda.
The primary purpose of the visit was to meet separately with the Director for Continental Europe of the Ministry of External and European Affairs, Eric Fournier, Member of Parliament and Mayor of the City of Saint-Maur-Des-Fossés, Henri Plagnol, and the Deputy Director of the Research Department for European and International Relations of the political party Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, Arnaud Odier. Eugene Czolij focused discussions on Ukraine’s integration into European structures, particularly the importance of initialing the Association Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine during the December 2011 EU Summit in Kyiv. Referring to the November 2, 2011 appeal to the European community by Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, the UWC President emphasized the need to distinguish between the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to join the EU and the actions of Ukraine’s government authorities which should not cause the postponement of the initialing of an agreement that is beneficial for Europe, Ukraine and France. Further, Eugene Czolij called upon Europe to demand that Ukraine’s government authorities adhere to fundamental freedoms and human rights, and to release leading opposition politicians, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko. In addition, he encouraged the monitoring of the Ukrainian Parliamentary elections in 2012 and the active participation of international observers from France, particularly through the engagement of members of Ukrainian NGOs.
On this day, the UWC President also attended a ceremony at the Italian Cultural Centre in honor of the well-known Italian cartoonist Igort, who was recognized for his recent book Les Cahiers Ukrainiens, which refers to the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.
Later that day, a meeting with the local Ukrainian community was held on the premises of St. Volodymyr-the-Great Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, organized by the Representative Committee of the Ukrainian Community in France. Eugene Czolij informed community members about recent events in Ukraine and the work of the UWC over the past year. He called upon the community in France to promote fundamental democratic values in Ukraine, support the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for Euro-integration and to actively participate in UWC projects, including an international observer mission from the Ukrainian diaspora during next year’s Parliamentary elections.