A delegation of the European People’s Party (EPP) travelled to Kiev, Ukraine from 9-11 March for a Fact Finding Mission to meet with top Ukrainian officials. The EPP delegation gained first-hand insights on the current political, economic and security situation in the country and expressed its full support for the ongoing reforms. The delegation was led by EPP Vice President Corien Wortmann-Kool and involved high-level experts from 12 different EPP member parties.

Corien Wortmann-Kool stated following the mission: “Our fundamental goal was to demonstrate the EPP’s strong support for our partners and members of our political family in Ukraine, including those who are represented in the current coalition. It is vital that we as the EPP stand in support of those who are working towards a Ukraine that is stable, economically sound and firmly on the European path. Ukraine must continue its extraordinarily difficult work of reform; the people of Ukraine will be the beneficiaries of a strong and reformed Ukraine.”

The delegation visited the headquarters of Block Petro Poroshenko-Solidarnist (BPP), the party of President Petro Poroshenko, as well as the People’s Front (NF) party of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, both of which have applied for EPP membership. These visits provided the delegation the opportunity to thoroughly assess the structure and work of these parties. The delegation also held meetings with our member party Batkivshchyna, represented by Deputy Chairman Hryhoriy Nemyria, and with youth representatives from our member party UDAR.

Top officials who welcomed the delegation included BPP-Solidarnist Party Chairman Yuriy Lutsenko, who spoke on the new party structures, as well as NF First Vice PresidentOleksandr Turchynov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. Moreover, the EPP visitors held meetings with the Speaker of the Parliament,Volodymyr Groysman, who briefed them on the current constitutional reforms and the regional elections which will take place in autumn. Meetings with parliamentarians of the BPP and NF were organised on the premises of the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. Moreover, the newly appointed chairman of the Advisory Council on Reforms of the President of Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili, spoke with the delegation about the government’s current reform agenda.

In addition to meeting with government and political officials, the EPP delegation held consultations with representatives of civil society, including from the Robert Schuman Institute, journalists, NGOs and think tanks. The dominant topics were the devastating war in eastern Ukraine and the dire economic situation.

Although these topics present serious and difficult circumstances in the country, the EPP delegation was encouraged by the tremendous efforts being undertaken to create and implement reforms.

“We left Kiev with a deep feeling of admiration and respect for those who are devoting themselves to building a European Ukraine that is prosperous and just. In achieving this aim, cross-party cooperation within the coalition is indispensable, and we as the EPP will continue to support and facilitate the work of our partners and member parties in Ukraine. We must move forward with confidence and purpose, while honouring the memory of the victims of Maidan and all those who have sacrificed and suffered for a better Ukraine,” Corien Wortmann-Kool concluded.