YES was founded in July 2004 in Yalta, when Victor Pinchuk invited some 30 European leaders to debate the future of Ukraine and the EU. At the conference, participants agreed to join forces and create a collective initiative to support Ukraine’s EU accession. Until 2013, the YES Annual Meetings were held in the historic Livadia Palace in Yalta, Crimea in order to transform the place where Europe was divided at the 1945 Yalta Conference into a venue for uniting a wider Europe. After the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the YES Annual Meetings moved to Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where it is hosted at the Mystetskyi Arsenal.
Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine (1994-2005), 9th Yalta Annual Meeting, 2012
«Whoever wins, try to understand that we have only one country – Ukraine. Try to find compromise. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with the voters»