The Grassroots View – S3 Episode 17 – Civil society united against Russian aggression

Since 24 February 2022, Ukraine has been dealing with its invasion by Russia. In addition to the military and financial aid that arrives from all over the world, European and Ukrainian civil societies are working hand in hand to help communities in distress. In this episode of The Grassroots View, we invited some of their representatives to tell us their stories.


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We stand in solidarity with Ukraine

Dear readers,

At this tragic time caused by Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

From Ukraine on the road to..

The tragic history of Ukraine is unfolding before our very eyes, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of journalists, photographers and cameramen, who go where we cannot go.

To the point

In our column "To the point", we invite EESC members to highlight aspects of an opinion or initiative that they consider important. This time we asked Veselin Mitov, co-chair of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform to explain the role of the platform and particularly its task in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine.


"Our first task now is integrating Ukrainian war refugees into European societies"

For me, as a co-chair of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform, it is necessary to restore and maintain the links between the members of the platform, who represent employers, workers and NGOs. At this crucial time, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, we must maintain contacts with the Ukrainian participants of the Civil Society Platform.


One question to...

One question to...

In our "One question to ..." column, former EESC member David Stulík answers a question from EESC info on the possible consequences of the war in Ukraine.

David Stulík: "We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity and support for Ukraine"

EESC info: In the face of Russia's war against Ukraine, we are witnessing an unprecedented mobilisation of civil society, which is working hard to help the Ukrainian people. What are the most remarkable actions in this huge wave of human support for Ukraine - humanitarian aid, transport, education, accommodation, schools, foreign language learning? What lessons are there for us as citizens who are confronted with a human tragedy?


Guess who is our guest...

The surprise guest

Every month in this column we introduce a public figure whose work and commitment are a source of inspiration. Their courage, strength of character and determination to take action set a shining example and their bravery deserves respect.


Tetyana Ogarkova: Vladimir Putin's last war

On 24 February 2022, we were woken up at 5 in the morning by strange noises that could be heard far and wide which sounded very much like explosions. Children were sleeping peacefully in their beds, but phones were buzzing with a constant string of messages. The war had begun. Explosions, which turned out to be missile strikes, were reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and other cities around the country.



EESC debates resolution on economic, social and environmental impact of war in Ukraine

The European Economic and Social Committee on 24 March adopted a resolution on the war in Ukraine and its economic, social and environmental impact against the background of a European Council summit placing the war at top of the agenda.


The EESC shows its solidarity and unity with Ukraine

Christa Schweng, President of the EESC
We see an unprovoked aggression against freedom, against democracy, against values and against the foundations of the European Union as such which was founded on the power of law not on the law of power. The reason for building a European Union - that is peace - today is more important than ever. As Europeans we need to stand together in solidarity and with Ukrainian people.




EESC opens its doors to Ukrainian Civil Society

To turn solidarity with Ukraine into concrete action, the EESC is joining the European Parliament's "civil society hub" initiative for Ukraine, allowing the NGO Promote Ukraine to use part of its premises at rue de Trèves 74, along with logistical equipment.



EESC members speak

VIDEO - Cillian Lohan - A unique wave of human generosity towards Ukrainian people

"Since the beginning of the war we've observed a unique wave of human generosity, a unique example of solidarity, unity and altruism towards Ukrainian people. Our members and their organisations have shown an impressive mobilisation and are fully committed to assisting the Ukrainian refugees".

Watch EESC Vice-President Cillian illustrate civil society's sustained efforts in support of war-stricken Ukraine.

POLAND: "We are helping Ukrainian entrepreneurs move away from the ruins and recreate their businesses"

Tomasz Wróblewski, EESC member, Poland

When this war is over, Europe will no longer be defined by the experiences of the Second World War or the Cold War, but by everything that is happening today in Ukraine and its consequences, which cannot yet be predicted. What we will go through and the lessons we will learn will change most of our perceptions of the world. 

POLAND: EESC members bring humanitarian aid to Ukraine

By Marcin Nowacki, EESC member, Poland

On 8 March 2022, my organisation in Poland (ZPP) and the Kulski Foundation (with which EESC member Małgorzata Bogusz is associated) organised a small but quick humanitarian convoy.

ROMANIA: Sheltering Ukrainian refugees at their most fragile

By Ionuţ Sibian, EESC member, Romania

In Romania, several civil society organisations, including FONSS, Afterhills Association, Parentis Association and Our Smile Group Association, have teamed up with the Municipality of Iasi to run a refugee centre for Ukrainians fleeing the war. The following story, which was reported by my colleague, Mihaela Muntean, is one of the many touching experiences we have been living through.

HUNGARY: Helping in any way we can

By Zsolt Kükedi, EESC member, Hungary  

As a delegate from an environmental organisation, I know there is very little room to discuss environmental issues in my country at the moment.  People are busy facing the human tragedy and the huge influx of Ukrainian refugees, and appreciate even the smallest sign of interest and compassion and any help one can offer.


LITHUANIA: An open lesson about Ukrainian history

By Tatjana Babrauskienė, EESC member, Lithuania

The Lithuanian education community is observing the current large-scale and very aggressive military actions by Russia in Ukraine with deep sadness and disbelief and has launched an initiative to teach the younger generation about the myths and reality regarding Ukraine's history.


LITHUANIA: How civil society has been mobilising for Ukraine

By Emilis Ruželė, EESC member, Lithuania

By early March, the Lithuanian people had donated more than EUR 12 million. My organisation, Investors' Forum, has donated EUR 1000 and our member companies have donated more than EUR 300 000 to various organisations helping Ukraine.

PORTUGAL: Public demonstrations say "No to war! Yes to peace!"

By Fernando Manuel Maurício de Carvalho, EESC member

A public demonstration took place in Largo de Camões, Lisbon, on 10 March, in pouring rain, with protesters speaking out against war, sanctions and those who profit from selling arms or use war as an excuse to militarise. Demonstrations were also held elsewhere in the country.

VIDEO - Ionuţ Sibian "Our house should be their house"

Listen to EESC member Ionuţ Sibian describe the massive mobilisation of Romanian civil society for the Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter from the war, and encourage the whole of European civil society to welcome their Ukrainian neighbours: "This is the message we should give to the outside world: Our house in Brussels should be their house. We are here and we will take care of our colleagues from Ukraine to offer them a safety net, moral support and whatever is needed".

VIDEO - Antje Gerstein: European solidarity in action

Watch Germany's Antje Gerstein as she describes  German civil society's very concrete help for Ukrainians refugees.

"Our quick mobilisation to support Ukraine, its people, its businesses and civil society with concrete gestures makes me proud. Several German retail and food companies delivered 4000 tonnes of food to Ukraine. This is European solidarity in action".

VIDEO - Salgado Manuel Garcia Spain: UGT donates percentage of budget to humanitarian aid

In this video Spanish EESC member Salgado Manuel Garcia calls for ”peace, solidarity and respect” as he announces his trade union’s pledge to help war-stricken Ukrainians.

"On behalf of the Unión General de Trabajadores, the major Trade Union in Spain, we fully condemn the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's armed forces. This is not only an attack on the founding values of the European Union, but also an attack on civilians. We call urgently for solidarity and humanitarian aid".


VIEWS: A political, economic and strategic response to the war in Ukraine

By Cinzia del Rio, EESC member, Italy

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will change the geo-political and economic relations in the world, and most certainly between Russia and the EU. The outrageous military intervention, which is causing victims among civilians and destruction of the country's cities and civil and economic structures, has been firmly and strongly condemned by the democratic international community and by the trade union movement.

VIEWS: A Key Moment for Civil Society in Europe

By Andris Gobiņš, EESC member, Latvia

Each and every one of us can contribute to faster and more sustainable freedom. Here are some ideas on how to do it, based on my experience of growing up in a refugee family in exile and now working in Latvia.