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.

The official handover ceremony was held at the EESC's Jacques Delors building on 20 April 2022. The EESC president Christa Schweng welcomed the Ukrainian civil society representatives, offering them a symbolic "free access" badge in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Christa Schweng said: "The EESC, as the home of organised civil society in the EU, is opening its doors to Ukrainian organised civil society, which is part of our European family. We stand with Ukraine and its people, and are turning our solidarity into concrete action. Together we stand united to defend our shared values: freedom, democracy and the rule of law."

Civil society coordinator Natalia Melnyk stressed: "24 February changed our lives. Not for the better. However, we do not accept any condolences. There is now a lot to be done and I hope that in these premises we will be able to do more to support Ukrainians. This hub is open for all Europeans who want to support Ukraine."

Serghii Tereshko, deputy head of the mission of Ukraine to the EU added: "I would like to express our gratitude for the solidarity with Ukraine and for the EESC resolution on the "War in Ukraine and its economic, social and environmental impact". Thank you for the support of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform for helping us to get closer to the European Union. Granting us the premises is the first step towards establishing a permanent Ukrainian presence in the European institutions."

Marta Barandiy, chair of NGO Promote Ukraine, stressed that: "The European institutions have given us the space to speak. Now we receive the space to work. A space to cooperate with European civil society."

The offices and parking area at the building B68 (rue de Trèves 74), as well as administrative and logistical support (equipment, printing and IT services) will be used to coordinate the Ukrainian civil society activities. The EESC is thereby facilitating the work of this NGO, providing a secure home for Promote Ukraine at the heart of Europe. (ab/ehp)