A leading EU organisation has reaffirmed its unwavering support for Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts and European aspirations.
This comes after European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Oliver Röpke led a delegation to Ukraine.
The visit, which took place ahead of the European Commission’s Enlargement Package, provided an opportunity for Röpke to discuss Ukraine’s integration into EU.
The EESC emphasised that the Ukraine’s reconstruction must take place “in full respect of human and labour rights, rule of law, transparency, equality and through a genuine social dialogue.”
Röpke said: “The EESC stood by Ukraine and its civil society since day one of Russia’s war of aggression. Ukraine has taken great strides forward, despite the ongoing state of war, and is ready to start the EU accession negotiations.”
“The EU must respond to this call of history, just as the EESC did by gradually integrating Ukraine through initiatives like “Enlargement Candidate Members”. Civil society and social partners are instrumental in the European integration, building democratic resilience and safeguarding human rights.”
On 2 November, the delegation held high-level meetings with Ukrainian state officials including Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister; Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories; Oleksandr Yarema, State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers, and Oleksandr Korniienko First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada.
During these meetings, the EESC delegation had an opportunity to discuss in-depth the European integration processes of Ukraine, the need to deepen economic cooperation with the EU, and involvement of civil society and social partners in these endeavours.
The EESC expressed its readiness to assist in Ukraine’s capacity building, drawing on the experience of EU Member States with recent post-war recovery.
The delegation also met with members of Verkhovna Rada: Galyna Tretiakova, Chair of Committee for Social Policy and Veteran Support; Tetiana Tsyba, Member of Committee for Social Policy and Veteran Support and Chair of the Subcommittee on Social Protection of Children Affected by the Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine; Dmytro Kyselevsky, Deputy Chair of Economic Development Committee; and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko Secretary of the Committee on Ukraine’s integration into the EU.
On 3 November, the delegation held meetings with the representatives of Ukraine’s trade unions, employers and business associations, and civil society organisations, gaining first-hand insights into the current situation regarding the labour legislation, involvement of social partners in decision-making, and the functioning of social and civil dialogue during wartime.
In the afternoon, members visited Bucha, to pay respects to the Ukrainian civilians and soldiers who lost their lives in the war of aggression against Ukraine.
The delegation also visited Ecosoft, based in Irpin, a leading manufacturer of water filtration systems, showcasing how Ukrainian companies can actively contribute to the country’s recovery. Despite being destroyed during the war, Ecosoft managed to evacuate its employees and their families, fulfill pre-war contracts, and continue its operations, now actively contributing to Ukraine’s reconstruction by supplying water to all regions across Ukraine and 60 countries worldwide, including Africa under UN programmes.
Lucie Studničná, President of the EESC’s Workers’ Group remarked: “Ukrainians oppose the barbarism of the Russian aggression with huge bravery and commitment. We need to support them in strengthening civil and social dialogue to help build resilient society, post-war reconstruction and their way into the EU.”
Séamus Boland, President of the EESC’s Civil Society Organisations’ Group stated: “I welcome the commitment of the Ukrainian government to involve all actors from civil society in the reconstruction process. It is of utmost importance to include all voices so that no-one is forgotten. We must not forget that until today EU Member States have welcomed over 7 million people fleeing the war. Civil society organisations are playing an essential role in supporting people in Ukraine and the Member States.”
Marcin Nowacki, Member of the EESC’s Employers’ Group, co-chair of the EU-Ukraine civil society platform shared: “We can see the great determination of our partners in Ukraine to integrate further into the European Union. We discussed support in the accession negotiation process, also from business perspective. Many Member States still have an institutional memory of adapting business to EU needs, which will be crucial, as challenges remain: from access to the Single Market to developing a new model of social dialogue in Ukraine.”