During the European Committee of the Regions plenary on 27-28 April, Ukrainian local leaders from Kyiv, Lviv, Mariupol and Melitopol will join our local and regional leaders such as our President François Decoster and Vice-President Ulrika Landergren to discuss the current situation facing their cities. They will discuss how the EU’s regions and cities can best help in providing humanitarian support and protect Ukrainian refugees. This follows on the European Committee of the Regions mission to the EU border with Our President François Decoster, Mayor of Saint-Omer. The debate will be streamed live. Our members will also contribute to a resolution calling for the immediate release of kidnapped Ukrainian Mayors and tools to be put at the disposal of local authorities to help them shelter refugees. In addition, representatives of the EU with our Michiel Rijsberman, Regional Minister of Flevoland, Netherlands, will discuss the EU’s relationship with the UK and adopt recommendations on how to strengthen ties at the subnational level. On Thursday, CoR members with our Vice-President Ulrika Landergren will debate on the promotion of European democratic values through education to foster EU citizenship with Dubravka Suica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography. This debate will contribute to the ongoing discussion with the citizens within the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and for which the final report will be presented on 9 May, Europe Day, to the presidents of the EU institutions.
— This overview/blog covers the European Committee of the Regions plenary of 27 – 28 April 2022 ; it will be updated throughout these two days —
Our President François Decoster:
Paula Fernandez Viana, Regional Minister for Cantabria: “We need to be united against Putin, we need sanctions and we need to share solidarity to support people who need to seek shelter and a safe place in Europe. Therefore we should be able to redirect funds quickly so cities and regions can offer assistance to those fleeing war. There’s no doubt this constitutes a new phase in Europe. We need to show our values which will be a cornerstone of EU policy”
Mirja Vehkapera said: “I listen to the speeches of the mayors of Ukraine. The message is clear: don’t forget us! We will not forget. Ukraine needs all the support: military, humanitarian and reconstruction funding. We are united”
Michiel Rijsberman, Regional Minister for Flevoland, features in an article on what the European Committee of the Regions can mean for Ukraine, highlighting a specific examle in which Flevoland maanged to help a Romanian town with goods meant for the Ukrainian refugees there – in Brusselse Nieuwe:
Renew Europe CoR Group Meeting
During the Renew Europe CoR group meeting, members debated and prepared the Ukraine debate of the European Committee of the Regions plenary.
Gillian Coughlan: “We need to coordinate resources and we can’t underestimate pressure on local politicians and resources. We have to ensure that people relying on local help and resources don’t feel threatened by the influx of refugees and give in to manipulation of right wing forces”
Gunars Ansins: “The situation in Ukraine shows we need to build a strong Europe. I want to focus on energy, food crisis and cyber security in this regard. We need to think of these questions as a result of the war as well”
Mart Vorklaev: “From my side we should stress providing military aid to Ukraine. We know that none of the Ukrainians want to leave their home. We should say out loud and call it what it is: genocide. The only thing helping to fight the Russians is weapons and armoury”
During the group meeting the Renew Europe group in the CoR was also joined by Barry Andrews MEP and Billy Kelleher MEP to discuss the upcoming ALDE Party Congress in Dublin, Ireland in June. They also gave their view on the war in Ukraine. Barry Andrews MEP raised the issue of Ukrainian refugees, while Billy Kelleher MEP discussed the broader impact on refugees but also security such as economic and food security, and how these costs will fall on the general population, focusing on how inflation and housing will constitute important challenges.
Both Irish MEP & our Irish members in the European Committee of the Regions:
Debate on Promoting European Democratic Values through Education to Foster EU Citizenship
Our Vice-President Ulrika Landergren participated in the debate with European Commissioner Dubravka Suica, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Democracy and Demography, discussing promoting European democratic values through education.