"Cooperation with Ukraine is essential and our solidarity should not be questioned", said European Parliament President Martin Schulz at the opening of "Ukraine week" on Monday evening. This 3-day high-level conference is bringing together MEPs, national and Ukrainian MPs to share experience on good parliamentary practice, law-making and representation.
The event "demonstrates strong solidarity between the European Parliament and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine", said Mr Schulz. "You need our support and you will receive it. However recommendations to reform the VRU should not be put into the filing cabinet, but implemented", he added.
"Ukraine needs strong institutions and we are ready to start reforms to strengthen democracy in Ukraine. [..] The drawbacks, such as ethics or political culture, will not hinder it", said Chairman of the Vekhovna Rada Volodymyr Groysman.
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, also expressed his support for Ukraine, noting that the "EU does not support political parties or politicians, but the principles of rule of law and democracy".
Conference co-chairs Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and Andrej Plenković (EPP, HR) stressed that there is no sustainable democratic and political development of a country without a proper efficient, independent and well-functioning parliament. "Every week in the European Parliament is Ukraine week", added Mr Plenković.
At the opening, former European Parliament President Pat Cox presented his report and a capacity-building roadmap for the VRU, which will serve a basis for further "Ukraine week" debates on Tuesday. "The driving idea for this report was that stability of democracy, economic and social situation is built on strong and independent institutions", he said.
The agenda and speakers list are available here.
The event is web-streamed through EP Live.