Joint appeal by Presidents Zelensky and Steinmeier
Germans and Ukrainians stand side by side!
We are connected by shared European values – freedom and democracy – and by a deep sense of solidarity in this time of war, caused by the brutal and illegal aggression of Russia against Ukraine.
Municipal partnerships are at the heart of our bilateral cooperation and an indispensable part of a vibrant Europe of civil societies, good governance and local democracy.
After the end of the Second World War, municipal partnerships helped to unite a divided Europe and promote peaceful cooperation. As Russia has brought war back to our continent, municipal partnerships have opened a new chapter of strength: German towns and cities have shown immense solidarity by giving refuge to Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s brutal aggression, municipal partnerships have provided a strong bridge to deliver aid and essential supplies, give advice and exchange experiences, and they have already started to make a contribution to the economic recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.
As Presidents of Ukraine and Germany, we are grateful for the wealth of existing municipal partnerships and call for more towns and cities in Germany and Ukraine to join in new partnerships!
Municipal partnerships provide a concrete channel for solidarity in the face of war, they lay the foundation for a united future, and they send a clear signal to Moscow: Your war will not divide us – it will bring us closer together, as Germans and Ukrainians, as Europeans!
To lend visible and lasting support to our appeal, we, the Presidents of Ukraine and Germany, take on Patronage of the German-Ukrainian Municipalities Network. We encourage local governments and civil society leaders to join the Network and reach out to each other for the creation of new partnerships.
We are grateful to the German Association of Municipalities and to the German Federal Ministry for Development for administrative and financial support as well as to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine, which plays an important interlinking role between different levels of Ukrainian authorities in terms of the economic recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.
We believe that European integration starts on the municipal level, and we therefore urge all German actors of the German-Ukrainian municipal partnerships to contribute to the future EU membership of Ukraine. Sharing of the best EU practices and supporting the alignment with EU standards can strengthen Ukraine’s European path.
In order to encourage active participation of German actors in the reconstruction of Ukraine, Federal President Steinmeier takes the opportunity of his visit to the Chernihiv region to assume symbolic patronage of the various German development and reconstruction efforts in the Chernihiv region. The President thereby wants to encourage new German-Ukrainian civil-society and municipal partnerships as well as German economic engagement and investment in the region, which has especially suffered due to the Russian invasion.
We thank all the passionate and committed men and women in both our countries who put so much energy into the German-Ukrainian friendship. The network of German and Ukrainian municipalities is essential for building and strengthening Europe – together.
We stand together and we will prevail together.