Ladies and Gentlemen,
It has been a great privilege to take part in this very interesting and vivid debate. I have always held the belief that Europeans must make an effort to acknowledge the realities of Ukraine and go beyond stereotypes. And I am sure that the lively discussions we had here today have contributed to boosting our knowledge of Ukraine’s past and present, so that we can fruitfully plan together the future.
We have heard many Ukrainian voices here today, as well as European ones, in what I believe to have been a very balanced debate.
As we have heard Mr Verhofstadt saying, for me and the ALDE group, it is clear; we should conclude the negotiations on the Association Agreement by the end of this year and focus our work and energy on the actual implementation of the undertaken commitments.
One should not underestimate the challenge that this represents, but I am certain that with the necessary political will and strong commitment to the process, we will advance to a qualitatively different level of EU-Ukraine relations. Based on trust, mutual understanding and a common future!
Allow me to briefly touch upon one subject that is close to my field of expertise and political engagement. Energy is one of the most important fields of cooperation between the EU, Ukraine and our Eastern neighbours. If there is one lesson we should learn from the past is that interdependence of energy infrastructure is real.
Therefore, while continuing to engage in lengthy talks on the need for greater energy security, we as Europeans, should focus on how to achieve that: investing in existing infrastructure and interconnectors, supporting new projects, but most importantly being honest about what we can and can not do.
Finally, we are all indebted to the organisers of this debate, whom I would like to thank: the European Policy Centre in cooperation with the Mission of Ukraine to the EU, who have overseen all the planning with such thoroughness and success. I take this opportunity to invite you all to the cocktail reception that will take place just in front of this room.