Speech by Marta Barandiy at the Congress of VOOR U

Dear people, this is the first time I am speaking Dutch to the general public, but I am breaking this barrier for you.

I am asked to speak about migrants. You know, I am not a politician like many people here, but there are things that are very important in society and that can be changed, can be improved. So, defense, migration, participatory democracy.

About migration. For you, migration stands under our conditions, or with European values. Migrants come to Europe seeking these values. These are values of democracy, the rule of law, freedom, security, prosperity. They come here because they cannot find these values in their own countries. They have them here, but they are not to be taken for granted.

They must be secured, protected. Therefore, European values must be included in the integration program for migrants. Respect our laws, share our values, welcome to our Europe. I am a migrant myself. I lived in Charleroi and there I went through the integration process. I now live in Zellik and there I went through the integration process. I have undergone integration in Belgium twice. But I came to Belgium, to Europe, already with European values, because I studied human rights. In Ukraine, in Germany, in Austria, in Belgium.

In Belgium, I have been everything. A student, an employee, unemployed for a period. Now I am an employer, entrepreneur, and activist. And above all, I am Ukrainian by birth. As a Belgian-Ukrainian candidate for the European Parliament, I am often confronted with the idea that I will only support Ukraine and not Flanders. I tell everyone, I stand for dignity and justice. And these are universal. It is a reality that Ukraine is fighting for these values. And it makes sense that I support this people. But it is also symbolic that the Ukrainian and Flemish people have so much in common. The fight for language, for identity, and for the vote.

Therefore, I am proud to be that bridge between Flanders and Ukraine on the road to a stronger and more peaceful Europe.

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