On the early morning of February 24, Europeans woke up to the devastating news about the full-scale war that was launched in Ukraine by the Russian Federation. And the reaction was lightning fast.
Cities and regions united in support of the Ukrainian people: both those who stayed in their homeland to fight the aggressor, and those who fled to other countries in search of safety.
Seven months later, progressive local leaders didn't take a step back. Across Europe, they continue to stand firmly with Ukraine not only in words, but in actions.
Moving fast towards the reconstruction of Ukraine
In September, a group of PES Group members led by the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and PES Group President, Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines, France, met the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, in Prague to discuss the reconstruction and transformation of Ukraine.
We're are in Prague 🇨🇿 for the @EU_CoR Bureau Meeting with @Vitaliy_Klychko @PiratIvanBartos and @EU2022_CZ.— PES Group Committee of the Regions (@PES_CoR) September 16, 2022
On the agenda ⤵️
🔹 Czech Presidency of the EU
🔹 Debate on the war against Ukraine 🇺🇦
🔹 Impact of the war at local and regional levels pic.twitter.com/sNEMzwxefJ
With @Vitaliy_Klychko Maire Mayor of Kiev @EU_CoR bureau meeting in #Prague.— Patrick MOLINOZ (@MolinozPatrick) September 15, 2022
Ukraine fighters defend Europe and Europe must stand with #Ukraine. Les collectivités locales aident l’Ukraine ! @bfc_region @CNCD_Fr @Regionsdefrance pic.twitter.com/150aTdQzLQ
Klitschko expressed his gratitude for the support and stressed that further cooperation with the CoR should be more systematic.
Progressive leaders continue to support Ukraine with all possible means
In July, the President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) Vasco Alves Cordeiro and the mayor of Kyiv Vitaly Klitschko congratulated cities and regions for organizing summer camps for Ukrainian children in the European Union, offering them a safe place to recover from the horrors of war.
Earlier that month, a delegation of PES Group members led by PES Group President Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines, France, paid a two-day visit to the region of Constanta, Romania, to discuss the Ukrainian crisis with the local and regional authorities and visit the refugee centre of Isaccea, where they met families coming mainly from the war-torn cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa.
At the end of June, CoR and associations representing European cities and regions launched the European Alliance for Cities and Regions to help Ukraine’s local and regional authorities rebuild houses, schools, hospitals, services and infrastructure destroyed by Russian troops.
Un accordo storico per aiutare il popolo ucraino nella ricostruzione.— Dario Nardella (@DarioNardella) August 19, 2022
Le città europee sono con voi 🇺🇦@ZelenskyyUa @EUROCITIES @AndriyYermak pic.twitter.com/ovwFCQ8nZr
This will be an ongoing report on our actions to help Ukraine.
In August, CoR member Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, and Benoit Payan, Mayor of Marseille, visited Kyiv and its suburban cities of Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka — scenes of horrific Russian atrocities. They signed an agreement with Vitaliy Klitschko, Kyiv mayor and President of the association of Ukrainian cities, to support the reconstruction of Ukraine and presented the plan to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Je suis allé en 🇺🇦Ukraine rencontrer le Président @ZelenskyyUa avec 7 maires d’Europe pour témoigner de la solidarité sans faille de Marseille avec le peuple ukrainien. pic.twitter.com/k8LycAy22p— Benoît Payan (@BenoitPayan) August 19, 2022
In an opinion to be presented at the upcoming European Committee of the Regions Plenary Session on 12-13 October, PES Group member Dario Nardella will also outline more in detail the European Committee of the Regions' proposals on The role of EU cities and regions in rebuilding Ukraine. He will in particular suggest the development of a reinforced U-LEAD programme that becomes the key multilateral instrument to support local communities and promotes decentralization in Ukraine.
“City to city”. In rappresentanza di tutti i sindaci di @EUROCITIES a Kiev, Burcha, Irpin e Borodyanka, ho firmato un piano per agevolare la ricostruzione delle città ucraine devastate dalla guerra. Dal seme della sofferenza rinasce una viva speranza per il popolo ucraino. pic.twitter.com/Gg5oj9uBnL— Dario Nardella (@DarioNardella) August 20, 2022
Header photo: Unsplash / Anastasiia Krutota