Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Conservative MEP Welcomes Yushchenko Visit To Strasbourg

23rd February 2005

Dr Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Spokesman on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, has today welcomed the visit to the Parliament of President Yushchenko of Ukraine. In a statement, Dr Tannock said:

"President Yushchenko's address to Parliament today is historic. His presence here is testimony to the resolve of the Ukrainian people to enjoy the basic democratic freedoms the rest of Europe takes for granted.

The Orange Revolution was a turning point in the history of Ukraine and Mr Yushchenko's bravery and determination have inspired not only his own people, but freedom-loving peoples across the world. This is why I have written to the Nobel Foundation to propose his candidature for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

As a Member of the European Parliament Delegation observing both elections in recent months, I am proud to have played a role in ensuring the first presidential poll was exposed for the fraud that it was. And, I am proud that the Conservative Party was the first major political party from the old EU Member States to call for Ukraine to become a member of the European Union. The time is surely right for Europe to underpin its commitment to the nascent democracy in Ukraine by offering the real prospect of membership in the period ahead.

In Viktor Yushchenko, the democratic community has a friend and ally. Let his visit to the European Parliament today mark the beginning of a new era in relations between Ukraine and the wider European community. There is a moral obligation on us to support his peaceful revolution, just as we supported other former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe when the Berlin Wall came crashing down."