Ukraine’s struggle — the future of Europe and Denmark

In January I went very close to the only European war. My Ukrainian colleague visited covered by the fighting Donbass region. A trip to the front line, where separatists day war with Ukrainian government forces at the last moment was postponed as the fighting suddenly and dramatically tightened.

A few days later buried eight Ukrainian soldiers.

To date, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has claimed over 10 thousand lives, injured nearly 24 million people and drove more than 1.7 million home.

The cause of violence must be sought in the past, at the junction of 2013 and 2014, at the Independence square in Kiev. There the Ukrainians have put their lives in the struggle for democracy, well-being and the right to themselves freely choose the direction in which the country would develop.

We in Denmark take it for granted. But for people who still visited by the ghosts of the atrocities of the twentieth century, all of this seem worth it to sacrifice my life.

In 2014, Denmark is at the forefront of those who are ready to support Ukrainians in their right to free and successful Ukraine. Support is incredibly important, because the choice is a country of democracy and reform should never lead to the intervention and aggression by another country.

We go ahead because we believe that the best response to this aggression is a stable, democratic and reformed Ukraine. Ukraine with a reliable legal system, free enterprise and a flourishing civil society will prove — including the residents of Donbas and neighboring countries that democracy and success is possible in the former Soviet Republic.

You can turn back to the kleptocracy, corruption and autocratic tendencies, if you have the will. In this direction there is progress. Under the new President Poroshenko held the most radical reform since Ukraine gained independence in 1991. For three years there have been more progress than 23 years before the revolution on the Maidan.

For example, the fight against corruption. Today all members of the Ukrainian Parliament and the staff of the Central administrations are obliged to publish on the Internet electronic tax Declaration of their assets and income.

The law applies to upper and lower classes even President Poroshenko has submitted their data. This law was an important step towards greater transparency and control.

The Association agreement of Ukraine with the EU will finally come into force this year. It is the failure of the previous government to sign the Treaty in the first place was the start of the uprising on the Maidan. Now Ukrainian citizens are free to make trips on the territory of the Schengen agreement without visas. This is the result of successful reform of the country. Relations between Ukraine and the EU is now closer than ever.

But this is not the end. Corruption still remains a serious problem of everyday life of the country. Those who would benefit from the old corrupt system, struggling to fight to keep their privileges. So you need targeted reform of the legal system strong Ukrainian leadership. In this regard, necessary substantial support from EU and the international community.

Denmark actively promotes this agenda, manages large-scale anti-corruption programme of the European Commission in Ukraine.

Conference about the Ukrainian reforms in London on 6 July was an important waypoint milestone. It was a clear signal of solidarity, determination and absolute interest in the continued progress of Ukraine in reforms.

But one conference is not enough. It should be the beginning of the process.

We need to continue to control the heavy work on the reforms taking place in Kiev, and Denmark and other friends of Ukraine should continue to support it. I offered to hold the same conference next year, to take stock and to reaffirm international support. We are talking about long term.

Ukraine’s struggle is the struggle of Europe. Now Ukraine is at stake is defining the most important principles: no country has the right to Annex, to seize the territory, or attempt to change the borders of another country using military force. This is contrary to international law and the values which become the cornerstone of our European cooperation.

Denmark therefore stands shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people. The killing in the East of Ukraine is not only a manifestation of violence that paralyses the lives of individual families and the entire nation. It also undermines our European and Danish values.


Anders Samuelsen, Minister of foreign Affairs of Denmark (November 2016), the head of the party Liberal Alliance.