The European Peoples’ Party (EPP) had a summit in Helsinki on the 9th of March. I participated on the working lunch on the topic The War in Ukraine and its implications for Europe.
The war ends when Ukraine wins. We all can help. As countries, as Europe and as individuals.
One year ago Russia started its cruel, illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. One year on, Ukraine continues to courageously fight for its freedom and independence.
Ukraine’s concern is ours. We are both neighbors with long borderlines of a country, that starts wars.
Russia’s war of aggression has led to the worst humanitarian crisis Europe has seen since the Second World War. Millions of Ukrainians have had to leave their homes and the number of casualties keeps rising as Russia continues its attacks on Ukraine’s cities and critical infrastructure.
Finland will continue to strongly support Ukraine in different ways as long as necessary. Finland has welcomed people fleeing Ukraine and offered them temporary protection, and we will continue to do so. We will do our utmost to make those who have fled the war feel welcome and safe in our country. And we will help Ukrainians rebuild their beautiful homeland.
Finland supports Ukraine and its neighboring countries affected by the war. This support takes many forms. Since February 2022, Finland has given about EUR 930 million in support of Ukraine.
Humanitarian assistance and development cooperation accounts for nearly EUR 140 million of this sum and defense material assistance and other material assistance for about EUR 760 million. Humanitarian assistance, material assistance and development cooperation funds has been delivered to Ukraine through different organizations. At Ukraine’s request, Finland donated temporary family homes to 200 Ukrainians who lost their home.
Finnish people have taken Ukrainians in their hearts. People in Finland want to help Ukrainians in their time of need, and many people, businesses, organizations, and public administration have been helping Ukrainians in all the ways they can.
Finns have offered accomondations to those who have fled Ukraine, donated clothes, and other supplies through f.ex. Red Cross and the association of Ukrainians in Finland. Finns have also been donating money to organizations like Unicef, Finn Curch Aid and Red Cross over 100 million euros. These organizations are doing an incredible job in Ukraine.
Finnish municipalities have also taken a big role helping in all the ways possible. We´ve been donating money, opened Ukraine Help Centers, taken Ukrainian children, who fled the war to day care and school. We´ve been happy to be a part of Generators of Hope -campaign alongside with other Eurocities and the European parliament.
This is the kind of co-operation Europe is built for. To work together, to stand for our shared values and to act together, side by side, everyone together in times of need.
The work is not over. The EU stands firmly with Ukraine and its people, and will continue to strongly support Ukraine’s economy, society, armed forces and future reconstruction.
Ukraine’s future is European. Finland supports Ukraine in its integration with the European Union and in the reforms it needs to implement. Finland welcomes the EU candidate status granted to Ukraine in June 2022. The European Union needs Ukraine as much as Ukraine needs the European Union. We need to be more determined. We need to be more effective, more univocal and more united.
Ukraine’s future lays within the European Union. When EU Member States agree on sanctions, they should be respected. Those sanctions have to be implemented consistently.
Today, Ukraine needs weapons more than anything else. Ukraine will not win this war without weapons, and we are aware of that. Political aid is needed, but humanitarian aid is also needed. What people urgently need right now is safety and warmth. As cold winter temperatures continue, new funding for humanitarian work to support Ukrainians to make it through this winter season should be prioritised. Reconstruction of homes, critical health, and education infrastructure is also key to help Ukraine contend with worsening humanitarian needs and look toward the future. EU and other donors need to continue to adequately support the humanitarian response in Ukraine.
The reconstruction of Ukraine is already being planned, which gives hope that the damages of war will be repaired one day. Finland is preparing for the reconstruction of Ukraine together with international partners.
The EU will stand with Ukraine until its victory, and Ukraine will be in the EU. We need to mobilize to protect the European way of life. Ukraine is the European way of life. We are a single family. The members of this family stand in solidarity. Ukraine can count on our help, and we will provide them with full support now and in the future to help the people get through this terrible war.