Speech by Minister Haavisto in the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto
Speech by Minister Haavisto in the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto, 2 July 2019
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Distinguished chair, Ministers, your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
- I want to thank our Canadian and Ukrainian colleagues for organizing this important conference, which is an important demonstration that Ukraine matters. Ukraine is a European country and a crucial cornerstone not only for the European security but beyond.
- The violation of international law, in Ukraine is a serious threat to the rulesbased international order. Safeguarding this order requires our joint efforts.
- Peace in the eastern Ukraine can only be reached with the genuine commitment and political will. Russia holds the key responsibility, but We can all help in finding new solutions.
- I welcome the recent news to start the disengagement process at Stanytsia Luhanska. This is an important step forward.
- Our support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty stands firm. Finland has a strong presence in the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission. We are also actively participating the EU’s Advisory Mission focusing on civilian security sector reform. The mission got a new Finnish Director just yesterday (July 1st). We are also supporting demining in Ukraine. The mines cause severe casualties especially to civilians and restrict normal living.
- Ukraine’s recent presidential elections were a strong demonstration of functioning democracy. I am confident that the parliamentary elections will follow the same path. Ukraine’s civil society is an active and important part of democratic society. That needs to be protected and safeguarded.
- Continuing with the reforms is the only way to improve the living conditions of ordinary Ukrainians and increase the resilience.
- A key element for Ukraine’s future is education. Providing good education to children is a crucial asset. Finland is offering support and expertise for the comprehensive school reform in Ukraine as well as for vocational education and training.
- We are also supporting Ukraine to decrease its energy dependence by improving the energy efficiency. This is also important from environmental and climate aspects.
- The connections between Ukraine and EU are deepening and strengthening. The EU has become the biggest trading partner for Ukraine. The visa free travelling has immensely increased peopleto-people contacts.
- We encourage Ukraine to fully use the benefits of the Eastern Partnership, Association and Free Trade Agreements. Finland will do its part during the next six months, when we hold the Presidency of the EU Council.
I thank you for your attention.