European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek on the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence
On the occasion of Ukraine's 20th Independence Day the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek stated:
"On this day, my thoughts are with our neighbours in the East. Twenty years ago Ukraine courageously took ownership of its future, and refused to be dragged back into a totalitarian past. The self-determination of the Ukrainian people was a turning point in bringing down the Soviet Union.
Seven years ago, during the Orange revolution, I personally witnessed in Maidan Square in Kyiv the strength of the Ukrainian people's commitment to a free, independent and democratic Ukraine in a moving example of civic activism.
But democracy can be fragile and needs to be cultivated everyday. Recent developments in Ukraine highlight the need to consolidate and reinforce past achievements through strong accountability of the political class, free and independent media, and a vibrant civil society. Recent events, unfortunately, also remind us of the importance of an independent judicial system free of any political influence.
The EP considers Ukraine a country of strategic importance to the EU; its size, resources, population and geographical location make it a key regional actor. If Ukraine wishes to continue on its European path, the EU strongly encourages it to remain committed to our common goal of an open, transparent and deep-rooted democracy based on the respect for the rule of law.
The EU remains as ever engaged to support Ukraine's democracy and prosperity through assistance in market reforms, implementation of the Visa Facilitation Agreement, in concluding the talks on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
However, we will not have a true and strong cooperation between the EU and Ukraine without a Ukrainian commitment to respect the rule of law and democracy. We will not have compatibility of our systems, if first and foremost we do not have compatibility in our values."