Ukraine asserts its European status

Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine
Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine

President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine told participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that despite the aggression his country faces, Ukraine is strong and unified. “Ukraine has become stronger. Ukraine has become more democratic. And Ukraine has become more European,” he said.

In a special session on The Future of Ukraine, held yesterday at the Annual Meeting, Poroshenko said that last year’s presidential and legislative elections were free and fair. He added that these elections showed a highly unified country, while polls indicate that support is stronger than ever for the country’s territorial unity and for integration with the European Union.

Poroshenko said that last year was “the most difficult in our history”, with parts of the country occupied by foreign troops. However, he also saw strong motives for optimism that peace can be achieved. He noted that shelling has fallen dramatically since a December agreement that called for “artillery silence”.

Poroshenko asked for the international community to continue its support of Ukraine, with political solidarity, with economic aid, and with the provision of defensive military technology. “We are not only fighting for our territorial integrity and independence, we are fighting for European values,” he said.

Ukraine is fully committed to economic reform, Poroshenko said. “We want to create a new country, free from corruption, with independent courts and the rule of law. We want to build a new climate for investment.” The country is already cracking down on corruption with a new anti-corruption bureau, and it is reducing bureaucracy. It is working to achieve energy independence from Russia through a mix of conservation, new suppliers and a clear, transparent energy market that will increase domestic shale gas production.

Poroshenko said that in Davos he has received several promises of major investment, as well as many expressions of support for his country. “I am thankful for this support. It is what Ukraine needs,” he said.