The European Union was founded on fundamental values such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
For more than a year, these same values have been endangered in Ukraine. For more than a year, the Ukrainian people have been fighting to regain their land, their freedom and their democracy. But they are not fighting alone.
In this significant period, which is the week before Europe Day (May 9), ALDA decides to leave for Ukraine to reaffirm its closeness and constant commitment to the nation and its people.
A team composed by ALDA Governing Board Member, Mr. Emir Coric, ALDA Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA EaP, Russia & Central Asia Coordinator, Mr. Alexandru Coica, the Consultant for LDAs development in Ukraine, Mr. Bartlomiej A. Ostrowski and the Director of Foster Europe, Mr. Stefan August Lutgenau, left on Tuesday May 2nd for a five-day mission to Ukraine.
It is fundamental to remember that in Europe there are those who fight every day to get back those same values that we celebrate on 9 May
Despite the short timeframe, the schedule was tight. The first destination was the city of Odesa, where the ALDA team met several local civil society organisations with whom to have an intense and interesting discussion on their work in supporting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other disadvantaged groups.
The meeting was followed by the encounter with the Head of the Odesa Rayon Council, Mr. Vitalii Barvinenko, ALDA member and partner, to enhance the already strong partnership and discuss future possibilities of cooperation.
The second and last destination was Vinnytsia, where ALDA representatives met Deputy Mayor of the Vinnytsia City Council, Ms. Halyna Yakubovych, and signed the official application form to become an ALDA member, and thus begin to develop a strong and resilient relationship, marked by the promotion and support of democracy in Ukraine and beyond.
The mission also served to lay the foundation for a long-term project: the creation of two Local Democracy Agencies in the cities of Odesa and Vinnytsia. As stated by the words of Mr. Emir Coric, ALDA Governing Board Member: “The Local Democracy Agencies proved to be an excellent instrument of cooperation in difficult times, both for the reconstruction of the country and for the restoration of peace”.
With already two Local Democracy Agencies in the country, LDA Mariupol and LDA Dnipro, the opening of two additional agencies would allow for greater cohesion and would strengthen the bridge created between the Association and Ukraine.
These intense days served to reaffirm ALDA’s continued commitment to the Ukrainian nation and people, strengthening existing ties and creating new ones, with one common goal: to strengthen democracy, citizen participation and return to a free and peaceful country.
In the important period leading up to Europe Day, it is fundamental to remember that in Europe there are those who fight everyday to get back those same values that we celebrate on 9 May.
ALDA’s mission to Ukraine ends here, but the Association’s commitment to the country and its people continues unceasingly.