Standing in Solidarity: blue and yellow wall of support at Europe Day
On 6 May 2023, Brussels was buzzing with excitement as all the EU institutions opened their doors to visitors on the occasion of Europe Day. This annual event commemorates the historic signing of the Schuman Declaration in 1950, which proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community and paved the way for the development of the European Union. This year’s celebration was particularly special, as it highlighted the EU’s support for Ukraine in the face of the ongoing unjust and unprovoked war waged by Russia against Ukraine.
One of the most notable aspects of the event was the Ukrainian stand, situated in the heart of the Berlaymont building, the headquarters of the European Commission, and manned by a passionate group of Young European Ambassadors from Ukraine. The stand presented information and data on the EU’s support for Ukraine, including stories of young Ukrainians who continued their studies despite missile attacks, and entrepreneurs and workers who persevered in the face of economic challenges.
The EU’s humanitarian support for Ukraine focuses on priorities set by the Ukrainian government, including shelter, multi-purpose cash support, protection, healthcare, food assistance, education in emergencies, and water and sanitation. To support Ukraine, the EU has established civil protection logistical hubs in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, and has mobilised the support of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The Temporary Protection Directive has also been triggered, granting displaced people fleeing the war certain rights in the EU, including a residence permit, access to the labour market, and suitable accommodation or housing. In addition, the EU has established EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, which facilitate the export of agricultural goods and other products from Ukraine.
Visitors to the Ukrainian stand were invited to write messages of support and solidarity for Ukraine. The wall of support quickly filled up with blue and yellow post-it notes, forming the colours of the Ukrainian flag. People were moved by the stories they had read and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, and many expressed good wishes.
Together with their parents, children participated by drawing pictures in support of Ukraine, with some of them even expressing their wishes for Ukraine to receive more weapons to defend itself against unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression. Many post-it notes bore the message “Slava Ukraini” in various languages, demonstrating the visitors’ solidarity with Ukrainians. With so many people willing to put a message, the wall extended far beyond the designated space for post-its.
The Young European Ambassadors shared their personal stories and engaged with visitors. Nataliia Balitska, one of the Young European Ambassadors from Ukraine, spoke passionately about the impact of EU support on her country: “The EU has helped us in so many ways, from small business support to medical assistance. As a Young European Ambassador from Ukraine, I want to say a big heartfelt thank you to the EU for all their help.”
The visitors were very supportive of Ukraine, and their messages reflected their solidarity and appreciation for the country’s efforts to withstand Russian aggression and defend itself. They also received pins with the Ukrainian and EU flags, which they can wear in support of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian stand at the Europe Day celebrations in Brussels not only provided a powerful platform for the EU and its partners to showcase their solidarity and commitment to supporting Ukraine’s ongoing fight for lasting peace, freedom, and humanity, but also exemplified the importance of standing together in the face of adversity. The numerous blue and yellow post-its on the wall served as a reminder of the EU’s unity and the resilience of the Ukrainian people.
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