PES Foreign Policy Network: Ukraine must be fully and fairly rebuilt

Participants of the PES Foreign Policy Network meeting

Participants of the PES Foreign Policy Network meeting

Our support for Ukraine has no end date, European socialists and democrats said today as they called for longer-term planning to begin for the fair rebuilding of Ukraine.

The PES Foreign Policy Network – composed of politicians, party representatives, and other progressives – met this afternoon to discuss Russia’s continued brutal invasion of Ukraine as well as the defence of the rule of law in Georgia and Israel.

Over a year since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, founder of the Ukrainian organisation SD Platform, Ferens Bohdan, provided an update to the Network on conditions in the country.

Meeting Chair, PES Vice President and PvdA Netherlands MP, Kati Piri, said:

“With total disregard for international law, and violating all moral standards, Russia has brutally assaulted Ukraine for over a year. We salute the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

“The human toll of this invasion is horrifying. Thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced, particularly women and children.

“As social democrats, we have been doing everything possible to provide military and humanitarian support to save lives in Ukraine. This support has no end date: it will continue for as long as is needed. 

“Ukraine must be rebuilt fairly. We must never forget that the massive destruction of homes, hospitals, roads, and entire communities is because of Russia, and they must be held responsible for this.”

Since the very beginning of the invasion the PES family has stood in full solidarity with Ukraine.

Following an exchange with Deputy Head of the Georgian Dream faction Givi Mikanadze, the Network also reflected on political developments in Georgia, strongly deploring the violence and repression directed towards demonstrators in the past week, and the rhetorics by several politicians of Georgian Dream, including the statements targeting the European Parliament by Georgia’s prime minister during a TV interview on Sunday.

The Georgian government’s decision to completely withdraw proposals for a highly controversial “Foreign Agent Law” was welcomed by the Network. European social democrats have supported a European path for Georgia and the meeting underlined that this course is conditional on political and judicial reforms that embody EU values and the rule of law. Human rights, press and civil society freedoms, and political pluralism are non-negotiable and must be fully embraced by all countries pursuing a European future. The Network urged the Georgian government to reflect on the twelve priorities identified by the European Commission and to refrain from attacks against civil society organisations. Vice-President Kati Piri will refer to the PES leadership ahead of the Presidency in relation to potential measures to be taken against Georgian Dream.

The Network welcomed the participation in the meeting of Jonathan Cummings and Uri Zaki – representing respectively Israeli PES observer member parties Avodah and Meretz – and expressed its full support to them and civil society movements that are opposing the judicial reforms proposed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government. The reforms – which threaten to seriously undermine democratic norms and the rule of law in the country – have sparked the largest protests in Israeli history. 

MEP Evin Incir and PES Executive Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck will meet in Israel with the PES member parties on Saturday to take part in solidarity actions with them to demonstrate against the reform.