Brussels Mayor tells conference, “Be a participant of Ukraine’s renewal”

Posted on Nov 29, 2022

The Mayor of Brussels has thrown the city’s support fully behind Ukrainian efforts in its ongoing war with Russia. Speaking on Monday, Philippe Close declared: “Despite the extremely difficult time, we should continue to assist Ukraine.” Addressing a conference, “Greater Kyiv.

Resilience. Innovation. Sustainability”, in Brussels, Close said, “The last weeks have been a true hell for Kyiv and for whole Ukraine.

At the eve of winter season, continued shelling destroyed almost 40% of the energy system of the country, cities are swallowed by darkness, constant troubles with water and heating supplies, phone and internet connection Close was a keynote speaker at the Kyiv Investment Forum which brought stakeholders together in a bid to discuss the post-war reconstruction of the devastated country. The conference at Brussels City Hall was also attended by a delegation from the city o Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine.

This year the Forum will focus its discussion on the resilience of Kyiv in light of the horrific war started by the Russian attacks. Close said, “First of all, I truly regret that Vitaliy Klitschko (the Mayor of Kyiv) couldn’t come personally to Brussels due to his obligations to manage the city of Kyiv at this difficult time. But I am glad that he is now with us by video call.”

“He, as a Mayor, has a duty to be physically in Kyiv and to protect his people.” Close told the former heavyweight champion, “I assure you that we fully understand in which situation you are. I am happy to welcome your brother, Volodymyr and your high representatives who are here with us today.”

The Mayor added, “I know how difficult it was for the Delegation of Kyiv to come here at a time when Ukraine and its capital are bombarded by Russian missiles. Missiles have been destroying for 9 months straight not only the city’s infrastructure, but also human lives. “Every city of the world has something unique in its air.”

He recalled his visit to Kyiv in May saying, “I saw a very dynamic, beautiful and vibrant city where golden domes of churches reflect the sun and sky and where ancient history exists in harmony with the young and positive energy of its people.I felt a city’s mood – decisive, ready to struggle until victory, trying, by all means, to live a normal life.” Close was in Kyiv with a mission to deliver medical and humanitarian assistance from city to city – medical equipment “so critically needed that- to show that Brussels will stay with you as long as it takes.” He said, “Our help continues.

Brussels is grateful to our partners – University Hospital of Saint-Pierre and its Director-General Philippe Leroy for this generous and noble support, given to the Kyiv Clinical hospital.” “A week ago a second truck with aid reached its destination and I also express our gratitude to our State Secretary Pascal Smet, who is with us today, for the ambulances provided to Kyiv. They are currently saving people’s lives.”

Close told the packed audience, “It has been 278 days already that we cannot avoid mentioning the war when we speak about Ukraine. It is everywhere. “For us – in the newspapers and headlines, in the needs of Ukrainian refugees that we host and for the Ukrainians – it is in their every day’s life.

“The war which Russia started against Ukraine divided the contemporary history of Europe between “before” and “after”. Since the beginning of the invasion, Russia launched over 4,700 missiles on Ukrainian territory. ” Close said, “But my main message today is straightforward – despite the extremely difficult time, we should continue to assist Ukraine.

To help this country to recover, we need to have an active business and humanitarian support on the ground. His message was, “I encourage you to be an active participant of Ukraine’s renewal and to become a part of the global European social responsibility network. “The last weeks have been a true hell for Kyiv and for whole Ukraine.

At the eve of winter season, continued shelling destroyed almost 40% of the energy system of the country, cities are swallowed by darkness, constant troubles with water and heating supplies, phone and internet connections. “As Vitaliy told few days ago in his interview, “…they are trying to weaken us, but all they get – is only making us stronger and angrier”. Close declared, “I agree with him.”

He concluded, “Ukraine will win this war. The essential question is what happens after the war? “By organizing this Investment Forum in Brussels, together with Vitaliy, we wanted to find an answer to this question – how we can give a second breath to Kyiv after all that they are now going through.

“We have gathered here experts, diplomats, mayors, top European officials to shape a post-war recovery for the capital of Ukraine. “Our teams have been working hard to create a very concrete and substantial agenda of the Forum which totally reflects the city’s ambition for modernization and social orientation. “A human-faced city is a contemporary trend of today.

Our Forum is an important step towards this.” Close said the Forum “will touch such aspects of Kyiv urban future as resilience, innovation, sustainability, investment in recovery, social economy and digital solutions. “We in Brussels have something we can be proud of in the mentioned spheres, but we have also lessons to learn from our Kyiv friends.

That is why I am very grateful to Vitaliy for opportunity to host the “Kiev Investment Forum” in Brussels. “It is the first time that it takes place abroad.” Later on Monday,Klitchko (by video call), his brother Volodymyr and Close will have a joint open interactive dialogue, moderated by Federica Mogherini, Rector of the College of Europe.

Close said his message to Klitchko is, “I want you to know that you and your delegation are among allies here – your very dense agenda, many bilateral meetings and documents to be signed is the best confirmation of our solidarity, friendship and strong statement to help Ukraine and its capital for reconstruction and renovation. Close said, “Brussels embraces Kyiv and is proud to be a reliable platform for its future prosperity and modernization.” Follow EU Today on Social media:

Staff Reporter

Staff Reporter

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