: Poroshenko: ‘We believe in Europe'

10:53 Jul. 7, 2016

Poroshenko: ‘We believe in Europe'

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gives a press conference after a meeting with France's President Francois Hollande, in Paris, June 21, 2016. (AP Photo)

Memories of war and oppression are short in the EU, not in Ukraine, Ukraine's President says

These aren't the easiest days for a united Europe. Both Eastern and Western Europe are suffering from Brexit fever. The destiny of those who want to be out has been decided — just like the destiny of those who want be in. But it is not a time for despair. It is a time for unity, responsibility and vision. A time to understand how we got to this point and how to find our way out together, Ukraine'a President Petro Poroshenko writes in his op-ed for Politico

Brexit is, above all, a crisis of faith. After 59 years of the European project — the most successful in human history — many Europeans are less appreciative of what it brings (peace, stability, freedom of movement) than of what it takes (solidarity and patience). No price is too high for peace and freedom. This simple truth fades in people's minds as they forget what war and authoritarianism feel like.

Read also How will Brexit affect Ukraine's future? Experts sharing thoughts

Memories are short. This is particularly true in Ukraine, where the same voices that only two years ago were shocked by Moscow's disgraceful aggression against Ukraine today call for a return to normal relations with Russia, when the Kremlin is still far from delivering on its obligations.

In a crisis of faith, those who have faith are a part of the solution, not the problem. Nowhere in Europe will you see as much faith in the EU as you do in Ukraine. Not because we are not aware of the EU's drawbacks, but because we are all too conscious of the alternatives.

Read also Visa liberalization postponed over Brexit and migrants – Ukrainian official

Wherever the European idea is in retreat, it leaves a vacuum that gets filled with something painfully familiar in Europe's history: national egoism. The European idea does not get replaced with something new — far from it. It is replaced with greed and narrow-mindedness masked as pragmatism. We're not talking about Churchillian pragmatism and vision. Those who demand an exit from the EU aren't visionaries but people who long for more power and less responsibility.

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