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Nothing will stop an idea whose time has come

Monday, 05 February 2024, 19:08

The Latvian liberal political party Kustiba Par! has nominated the Ukrainian expatriate Ivanna Volochiy as its leading candidate for the European Parliament elections in June. The party has made supporting Ukraine's accession to the EU and NATO the primary goal of its European policy agenda.

Ivanna Volochiy's speech:

"Ladies and gentlemen, dear liberal colleagues and friends. My name is Ivanna, my family name is Volochiy. I am Ukrainian.


I have been thinking for a while about what I would like to say to you today, and to be honest, I have written a few political lines and messages in my life, but I have never delivered a speech to the Latvian people in such historic circumstances  we are all today – at a time when Europe is experiencing an unprecedented war on its own borders.

As they say, there is a first time for everything. But this is not the first time that we, Ukrainians and Latvians, have experienced aggression, humiliation and death at the hands of our imperialist neighbour. And today, more than ever, we have to stand strong and together for both our countries and our European continent. As President Zelenskyy said – to protect our European way of life.

I was born and raised in a small town in western Ukraine called Ivano-Frankivsk, and I remember vividly the day my family went out to vote for an independent Ukraine. I was educated both at school and at university in the most uplifting national atmosphere. It is the spirit of our national renaissance that led me to be part of our student movement in the Orange Revolution, and at that time the idea of the European project for Ukraine was deeply planted in my dreams. This led me to the path to Brussels and the European institutions, where I would stand up for Ukrainian interests. I was still living in the dream of honest, fair and transparent politics, liberal in my political views, because I was brought up in a free and fair spirit, always moving forward. From the first day of the full-scale Russian invasion of my country, when I was still working in the EU Anti-Fraud Office, I knew that I had to do everything I could to help Ukraine.

I helped set up many volunteer projects and actions, including fundraising for protection and medical aid, helping internally displaced families and children.

I am very grateful to all Europeans and especially Latvians who have opened their homes to millions of Ukrainians refugees. Everyone in Ukraine feels very close to the people of Latvia and the Baltic States, who, as we say, do not need to explain what we are going through. They understand it without words.

I am very proud to stand here today and feel the support and the spirit of freedom and democracy, but also the great sadness that in the Europe of the 21st century we have people dying under bombs and on the frontline to protect their country and the European flag. Everyday of this war I think about the black and white sides that history is bringing us today.

It is a special day for all Ukrainians when in June 2022 the European Council granted Ukraine the status of candidate country for accession to the EU and in December last year it agreed to open accession negotiations. I keep thinking with enormous gratitude to all those who paid with their lives, those who gave their health for the future of European generations and Ukraine in the EU. We have a famous song, written at the beginning of the war, that says: 'No one can stop the idea for which the time has come'. 

The time has come for Ukraine to become part of the European family to which it has always belonged, both spiritually and historically. And I am proud to join forces with Latvians to make it happen. Latvians can become the first EU country to put a true Ukrainian voice at the heart of the European legislative process, where we can work together today to secure a peaceful and prosperous tomorrow for our children.

Every day you and I make decisions, big and small, and deep in our hearts we all know that we have to work harder and do more to win this war. We must ensure that history finally takes the white side, with human dignity, life and freedom as its most precious gift. 

Slava Ukraini! un "Gods kalpot Latvijai!"* 

"It is an honour to serve Latvia!" - a phrase used by Latvian servicemen and women."

Ivanna Volochiy has been working in European institutions in Brussels since 2007. She is currently working in the European Parliament as a communications manager for the liberal centrist Renew Europe group. Volochiy is also actively involved in joint work between Renew Europe and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party.

Disclaimer: Articles reflect their author’s point of view and do not claim to be objective or to explore every aspect of the issues they discuss. The Ukrainska Pravda editorial board does not bear any responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided, or its interpretation, and acts solely as a publisher. The point of view of the Ukrainska Pravda editorial board may not coincide with the point of view of the article’s author.

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