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The events in Ukraine over last week have been absolutely extraordinary, and they’ve made me think back to that period in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall, and the liberation of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
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Since that time, the enlargement of the European Union and NATO is, I think, one of the great triumphs of my generation’s diplomacy. It has brought stability, growing prosperity to tenth of millions of people in that part of the world.
And what is happening in Ukraine is a reminder that the EU and NATO still have this power of attraction to countries outside – it’s a promise of a degree of access to the world and to growing prosperity for your family that they didn’t have up until now. Sometimes, in our internal quarrels and discussions in the EU, we can forget that outside, the EU can be seen as a very, very powerful, attractive force for the future.
My Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have been very much involved in the diplomacy over Ukraine in recent days. Of course, the Foreign Ministers of France, Poland and Germany were there and helped to secure the historic deal that enabled the opposition forces to take power. We said that we would work with the new government, we will help them with the IMF to get the economic resources that they need.
There is still of course a lot to be done to ensure that Ukraine can emerge from this as a united country, stable and able to make its own decisions about the future.
And it’s also a reminder that other countries around the edges of Europe – for example in the Balkans – are also looking towards the EU for the same sort of power to help them change the life of their people.