President of the Republic of Lithuania President of the Republic of Lithuania

Opening remarks by Gitanas Nausėda, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the Ukraine Reform Conference

2021-07-07

Your Excellency President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenski,

Dear President of the European Council Charles Michel,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the Fourth Ukraine Reform Conference in Vilnius!

Today we carry on with the work that was started in London four years ago. Once again, this conference brings together prominent delegates from the European Union, NATO, other international organizations, and many interested countries. I am also glad to see here the representatives of civil society organizations, business community, think tanks, media, and the Ukrainian diaspora.

We all share the same goal – to support Ukrainian political and economic reforms. Together we must send a clear message that a Stronger European and Euro-Atlantic Family needs Strong Ukraine!

Ukraine has an important role to play within a wider European and global context. It is a big country, fit to create a strong impetus for regional development and economic growth.

Therefore, the strategic interest of the international community lies with the prosperous future of a democratic Ukrainian state, built on a solid, European, rule-based, and market-oriented foundation. Cooperation with Ukraine, supporting its transformation, should remain part of the international agenda.

This forum provides a good opportunity to display the progress achieved so far. After the latest presidential and parliamentary elections, the new Ukrainian leadership presented ambitious modernization initiatives. Despite the unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as continuing Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, Kyiv showed strong determination to pursue the reforms.

In a vision presented at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto two years ago, the Ukrainian leadership put the wellbeing of citizens at the heart of the reform process. This can be achieved only by setting up a well-functioning market economy, building up society’s resilience, advancing European and Euro-Atlantic integration, consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and combatting corruption. We are here to help Ukrainians accomplish all these tasks.

One of the most important tasks is to promote justice as a core moral value. Raising confidence in Ukraine’s judiciary system, ensuring independence and effective functioning of anti-corruption institutions, clarifying the processes of privatization, criminalization of illegal enrichments – all this is necessary for an effective functioning of the state.

Today we will discuss the prospects of many other reforms sorely needed in the areas of decentralization, land market, public administration, functioning of state-owned enterprises, and the energy sector. All these improvements would help to create a stronger, more effective, and resilient state.

We should also pay special attention to the EU-Ukraine cooperation agenda, as well as the security and defence sector reforms as the cornerstones for Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration. What we need is a clear vision of how Ukraine can contribute to the European family and how it can move closer to the European Union and NATO.

We know that integration is a two-way street. Ukraine needs definite end-goals to seek and to plan for, while the international community expects assurances on the continuation of a sustainable and consistent reform process.

During my official visit to Kyiv last March, I took notice of the high expectations of the Ukrainian society. The ambitious reform agenda is what keeps the hopes up and mobilizes the people. It would be disastrous if the optimism raised by the Revolution of Dignity quietly fades away. We cannot afford new disappointments!

Therefore, I thank you all sincerely for your participation in this forum. My wish is for your work to bring forward meaningful changes in Ukraine as well as in the broader region. Let us agree on new feasible reform targets and let us prepare for new breakthroughs at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Lugano.

Thank you!

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2021.07.07 13:50

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