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President von der Leyen: “Ukraine and the European Union have never been closer”

On March 18, 2022, European Commission President von der Leyen, BGF World Leader for Peace and Security Award 2020 recipient, spoke at the 8th Cohesion Forum:

“Millions of Ukrainians are seeking shelter in the European Union – torn from their families and country by Putin’s bombs. The scenes of war are devastating.

But the images of European citizens welcoming refugees show another picture – they show hope.

Ukraine and the European Union have never been closer.

Until Ukrainians can safely return home, and rebuild their independent and democratic country in peace, we will welcome and support them. Because they are part of our European family.

That is why, last week, the European Commission put forward CARE. This package of Cohesion Action for Refugees makes cohesion funds available for Member States. This will help them to build reception centres, mobile hospitals and schooling for children. It can provide employment support, for example training and language courses, or childcare facilities. CARE will help Member States to welcome Ukrainian refugees quickly and humanely.

For me, this is a truly inspiring example. Because it shows what a difference cohesion policy can make. Both as a short term response to crisis and a long term investment in democratic resilience. And the good thing is, there are so many examples like these, everywhere in our Union. From our pandemic response, where cohesion funds supplied ventilators, hospital beds and medical equipment. To the green transition. They all demonstrate the impact of cohesion policy in the everyday lives of Europeans.

We all know the great strengths of cohesion.”