“The opening of the borders of the European Union for students of Ukrainian universities may be the most convincing demonstration of the openness of the EU to the European prospects of Ukraine”. This is stated in the Appeal of the Academic Council of the Ukrainian Catholic University to the European Commission.
President of the European Commission
Mr. José Manuel Barroso
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Ms. Catherine Ashton
Representatives of the Governments of Member States of the European Union
Lviv, 25 December 2013
Appeal of the Academic Council of the Ukrainian Catholic University
to the European Commission
Dear Mr. President!
Dear Madam High Representative!
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
On a day when the celebration of Christmas freely transcends the geographical and political boundaries of the European continent, when European Christians celebrate the most intimate solidarity of God with humanity and every person, we turn to you and the peoples whom you represent, asking you to show an active solidarity with Ukrainian students.
It was students from universities across Ukraine who in late November 2013 actively expressed their support for European values and the closer cooperation and integration of Ukraine with the European Union. It was they who became the mouthpiece and bearer of the European dream of the Ukrainian people. The students were true ambassadors of European ideals in Ukraine and showed much more maturity and integrity in defending the country’s national interests than the leaders of the government and state.
Unfortunately, because of the irresponsible actions of the Ukrainian government, our country lost in Vilnius the opportunity to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. Instead, however, Ukraine gained a new, young generation of citizens, conscious of their values and civil rights, who without fear are ready to defend their dreams challenging those in power.
We urge you to support this young and morally conscious generation, who in a few years will be able to take responsibility for the fate of the country and for whom politics will be a way of the just ordering of society and the state, rather than a means of unscrupulous personal gain.
In our opinion, today Ukrainian students are most in need of solidarity of the European Union in three areas:
- Protection of students from repression by “law enforcement” agencies, which has already begun and which is expected to be intensified if the authorities use force to resolve the social and political crisis in Ukraine;
- Expansion of exchange programs and scholarship support for Ukrainian students to study and have internships in European universities; expansion of targeted programs for the mobility of university students in the south and east of Ukraine;
- Establishing conditions for a visa-free regime with the countries of the European Union for Ukrainian students and doctoral candidates who participate in short-term programs of student mobility.
The opening of the borders of the European Union for students of Ukrainian universities may be the most convincing demonstration of the EU’s hospitality to the European prospects of Ukraine and the most effective policy of rapprochement of the Ukrainian people with the European Union, a way of unity that no government’s duplicity can prevent.
Today the Ukrainian people, primarily through the student youth, make a historic geopolitical and civilizational choice. Please understand our youth and support their European aspirations with concrete resolutions.
With respect and gratitude,
Rev. Dr. Bohdan Prach Dr. Pavlo Khobzey
Rector of UCU Academic Secretary of UCU