The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), just a week ahead of the EU Council Summit, adopted its second Resolution on Ukraine, strongly supporting the country's unconditional candidate status to the EU. The European civil society will be working hand in hand with Ukraine for Ukraine on the reconstruction of the country delivering a stronger, greener, more resilient and sustainable European partner.
The EESC adopted earlier today the second EESC resolution on Ukraine: "From relief to reconstruction-proposals by the European civil society" putting emphasis on the country's EU accession based on the fulfilment of the acquis communautaire. The resolution clearly states that Ukraine's candidature should not be to the detriment of the ongoing accession process of the Western Balkans.
The EESC President Christa Schweng underlined:
Our resolution sends a clear message to the Commission and the Council to grant Ukraine a candidate status. Ukraine deserves it and its people must be given a clear European perspective.
The president of the Worker's Group and one of the rapporteurs of the resolution, Oliver Röpke, stressed that the EU together with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would have to assume the role as the main institutional supporters of Ukraine's post-war recovery:
We will be working together with Ukraine for Ukraine to put in place gradual steps to meet the standards required by the European treaties to join the Union".
On the reconstruction of the country, the resolution highlights the immediate need for European and international financial assistance to prevent Ukrainian economy from total destruction.
To this end, Stefano Mallia, co-rapporteur and president of the EESC Employers' Group said:
We are calling on EU institutions to provide specific emergency funding for SMEs which should go first towards preserving SMEs and then helping them grow.
Given the major contribution of the civil society to supporting Ukraine from the beginning of the war, its role will be paramount in the post-war recovery of the country. EU civil society sharing a bond with Ukrainian CSOs need to be closely involved in the reconstruction process, to make sure that rule of law reforms, the fight against corruption and the green and digital transition can be achieved.
As Séamus Boland, president of the Civil Society Organisations' Group put it:
Civil society actors must be at the centre of the programming, implementation and monitoring of EU and national humanitarian assistance to Ukraine – both during the war and in the re-building of the country.
Taking the floor, ambassador Vsevolod Chentsov, Head of the Ukrainian Mission to the EU, thanked for the solidarity from the EU member states, underlining that the EU candidate status is an
existential moment for us.
In the same spirit, Marta Barandiy, chair of the "Promote Ukraine" NGO, added that the role of civil society on supporting refugees is essential at the present time but it will be even more crucial in the reconstruction process. In an emotional tone, Mariya Korolchuk, representative from CORE and Funky Citizens NGO said that Ukrainian people are strong and determined to win and rebuild their country in the perspective of a European future.