Members of the Ukrainian community in Brussels, as well as other well-wishers and supporters of Ukraine, organised a giant human chain around the European Commission’s Berlaymont building on 12 June in support of Ukraine’s potential EU candidate status.
Organised by Belgian-based Ukraine NGO Promote Ukraine, alongside the Institute of Innovative Governance, l’Avenir de Europe, and EUMANS, the human chain comprised around 1,000 people, according to police estimates.
Promote Ukraine launched the action in order to support Ukraine’s application for EU candidacy status. Following a recommendation for candidate status from the European Parliament, the European Commission is set to announce on 23-24 June its intention to issue Ukraine with EU candidate status.
Yana Brovidy, volunteer at Promote Ukraine, told The Brussels Times that the organisers were pleased with the scale of the event.
“We were very happy that around 1,000 people came to form a symbolic chain of EU-Ukraine unity around an iconic building of the European Commission. At the same time, it is not the least surprising… The majority of EU citizens see Ukraine as part of Europe and support its candidacy status,” Brovidy said.
A recent Eurobarometer survey revealed that 66% of nearly 26,000 EU subjects interviewed supported Ukraine’s accession to the European Union. A further 71% believe that Ukraine is part of the “European family.”
However, behind closed doors, some EU commissioners have shown opposition to the proposal. Radio Free Europe states that some say that Ukraine is not ready to join and does not fit the criteria for candidate status. Promote Ukraine is seeking to put pressure on the commission with a visible show of solidarity with Ukraine from the heart of the EU.
Promote Ukraine asserts that Ukraine has proven its worth and determination on the frontline and has acted in the defence of the EU. “The Ukrainian fight is a fight for the future of Europe and European integration,” a press statement reads.
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“We hope and urge leaders of the EU Member States to listen to the voices of their people, let European values guide them and take the only right decision on 23 June,” Brovdiy added.
During the event, Ukraine activists descended on the Schuman area, dressed in Ukrainian national dress and carrying EU and Ukrainian flags.
In total, the ring surrounded all sides of the Berlaymont building, starting from the metro entrance near the Schuman roundabout at the main entrance to the building, going alongside Rue Archimède, Rue de la Loi, Boulevard Charlemagne, and Rue Stevin.
Promote Ukraine committee member Oksana Bulda stated that an important movement was underway to allow Ukraine to join the EU.
“Ukraine continues implementing reforms and being a responsible partner to the EU in a very very difficult war. We have proven our choice and commitments. Now, it is time for the EU to do the same,” Bulda said.
On 13 June, Promote Ukraine will inaugurate a photo exhibition at the Ukrainian Civil Society Hub on the grounds of the former Europe metro station building at the European Parliament to honour the life and photograph of killed Ukrainian photojournalist Max Levin.
More information about the event can be found on Promote Ukraine’s Facebook page.