December 10, Upon the initiative of MEP from Lithuania Petras Auštrevičius an informal group "Friends of European Ukraine " has been created in the European Parliament.
"Ukraine needs constant attention and effective political support in various areas - financial, military and humanitarian. To consolidate unity among the political forces of the European Parliament to support Ukraine, to generate new ideas and promote their effective implementation, I took the initiative to create an informal group - Friends of European Ukraine ", - said P. Auštrevičius.
At its very first session the group already included 50 members from 18 EU member states, representing different political groups, including the socialists, liberals and conservatives.
The inaugural meeting was attended by MPs of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Maria Ionova, Olena Sotnyk, Ostap Semerak, Olexander Prysyazhnyuk, Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov and Representative of Ukraine to the EU Kostiantyn Yelisieiev.
During the meeting the co-chairs of the group were elected, namely: from the EU side - Petras Auštrevičius, from the Ukrainian side - Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze and Ostap Semerak. Ukrainian delegation informed that the Ukrainian part of the group had already been established in the Verkhovna Rada (over 50 members).
At their first meeting the deputies discussed a wide range of issues, including opportunities to counter Russian propaganda, promoting the rapid ratification of the Association Agreement, granting Ukraine visa-free regime, as well as assistance in conducting systemic reforms. Special attention was paid to human rights, especially in Crimea and in the Donbas and rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers.