Statement of the YES Board on the European Council’s decision on opening the EU accession negotiations with Ukraine

16 December 2023

It is with a truly great delight that, marking a decade since the EU flag was proudly carried around Maydan square, the YES Board welcomes the decision of the European Council to open accessionnegotiations with Ukraine.

Yesterday’s decision in Brussels is a pivotal point in the long struggle of Ukraine and its European friends to embrace Ukraine as a permanent member of European institutions. 

We are particularly proud that YES has been one of the first initiatives that proposed and embarked on the vision of Ukraine as a prospective member of the European Union. Since its foundation in 2004, Yalta European Strategy has been instrumental in promoting the European choice of Kyiv and discussing the prospects for making it a reality.

With grim prospects for another battle-torn winter time in Ukraine, the YES Board welcomes the “EU’s unwavering commitment to continue to provide strong political, financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes.” This is a sign of true resolve expected from friends and allies within the European family.

Today, the YES Board calls on the government of Ukraine and all the EU states to demonstrate determination in carrying out yesterday’s European Council decision.

The EU needs to adopt as quickly as possible the respective negotiation framework for Ukraine. The ongoing aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine shall not be seen as an obstacle in these negotiations, but as a negative externality that canand must be managed. 

Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995–2005), Chairman of the Board of YES

Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994)

Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia (2016-2021)

Stephane Fouks, Vice President of Havas Group, Executive Chairman of H/Advisors

Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador (ret), President, MSC Foundation Council Senior Fellow, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin

Victor Pinchuk, Founder of YES

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Founder of Rasmussen Global, Secretary General of NATO (2009-2014), Prime Minister of Denmark (2001-2009) 

Pat Cox, Former President EP and President Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, former YES Board member

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Andriy Kobolyev
Andriy Kobolyev
CEO, Naftogaz of Ukraine, 15th YES Annual Meeting, 2018
«Nordstream 2 is a much wider problem than just gas matters. That’s about security of Ukraine, it’s a matter of our survival.»