Welcome remarks by H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the 10th Yalta Annual Meeting

20 September 2013, Last updated at, 11:55 EEST
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author: Press Service of the President

  Your Excellencies Presidents,
   Distinguished Guests,

It is my honor to address all of you in this historic palace.

This building is filled with a spirit of a Wider Europe.
Seeing all of you here - from Europe's East, West, South, and North - also strengthens the feeling of being in the center of Europe. And my wish for all participants of this conference is to maintain this feeling viable.
It is not easy, since it requires efforts and determination. But it is really possible. With the united support and bold steps of Ukraine's leaders and people.
With the assistance of the EU and friends of Ukraine. With a firm belief in the idea of Europe.

Today Ukraine is at the center of attention of all Europeans who are not indifferent to our continent's security and prosperity. It is important that Europe is also at the center of Ukrainian politics today.
The words of President Viktor Yanukovych at the opening of the third session of the Verkhovna Rada clearly confirm that Ukraine has made Association with Europe a strategic choice.
This choice has been confirmed both by the position and the opposition.
Consensus and determination are there on the Ukrainian side.
Let me tell you - there is also determination on the EU side. What remains to be done - to consolidate mutually expressed political will with practical demonstration that Ukraine is ready to think, to act, and to feel European.
Nothing is done until finally it's done.
There remain very clear and very specific tasks to do to embed Ukraine in Europe and Europe in Ukraine. You know them very well.
First, there is a need to establish legal guarantees of fair and transparent elections.
Second, the creation of level playing field for all political parties, groups and movements is a required attribute of a healthy legal and judicial system.
Selective application of laws, unbalanced powers and ambiguity of legal framework are disastrous for a functioning democracy.
Third, non-compliance and questioning of the undertaken international commitments lead to distrust. Just like an ambiguous business climate and rooted corruption discourages investment, trade and economic development.
We have a unique historic chance to bind Europe and Ukraine.
Europe really wishes to have Ukraine as a truly European partner. The one which is able to contribute to Europe's development and security. The one which is an example for other players in the region.
Europe is about free will, not about imposition or intimidation. It is the decision of Ukraine - its people and leaders - to be with the European Union or not.
Europe is open and determined to strengthen cooperation with Ukraine. But it will not push Ukraine by force.
A country's way of development cannot be imposed from the outside. Any attempt to do so is a breach of international law.
Lithuania, as well as Ukraine and other countries in the region, are facing today - let's be open and frank - sanctions intended to block Ukraine's association with Europe.
It demonstrates weakness, it is illegal, and it reveals the real face of those who impose sanctions.
All decisions in the European Union are consensual and the EU will follow them consistently.
This is what it means to be European.
Consensus is not easy to reach.
And if it has been reached, everyone expects its full implementation. The same is expected from partners. It is a question of trust. And it applies to everyone and everywhere. Be it association agreement or the implementation of commitments to the WTO.
Reforms are good for Ukraine first of all. They are not implemented to satisfy Brussels. They have to be implemented to satisfy the needs of Ukrainian people.
The EU is open to share its best practices and experiences.
Lithuania embraced it twenty years ago and today we already hold the Presidency of the European Council.
Finally, association with the Europe Union is in no way directed against someone or somebody.
Europe knows very well that building barriers is a destructive exercise.
Europe's survival is based on openness, not isolation. Any attempt to depict the Eastern Partnership as a measure to fight someone is wrong.

   Dear Friends,

We are already counting the days to the Vilnius Summit. With time becoming shorter, pressure increases.

I wish Ukraine, its leaders and its people strength, political will and resolution to withstand the pressure.
Ukraine must be the architect of its own fortune.
Ukraine is too big, too strong and too important to allow others to decide its fate.
I invite you to make the Vilnius Summit historic not only for Ukraine but also for Europe.
Let's make use of the opportunity we have. Let's anchor Ukraine in Europe and Europe in Ukraine.

I wish you all fruitful discussions.

Thank you!

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

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