Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 07.11.2017
Ukraine is the largest country that lies wholly within Europe. Ukraine is being invaded by Russia, a country that lies mostly in Asia. Other wholly European countries, led by Lithuania, are finally waking up to their responsibilities and putting together a plan to support Ukraine. From 20 February 2014 to today, Ukraine has been defending European civilization on its own against the foreign invaders from Muscovy. Although the forces of appeasement still dominate in Berlin, Paris, and London, they don’t hold sway in Kyiv, Vilnius, and Warsaw. Countries that know from historical experience the mortal danger that Russian aggression poses are leaded the effort to rationalize support for front line defender Ukraine. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius, calls his plan the “European Plan for Ukraine.”
On November 6, Linas Linkevičius presented his plan in the Lithuanian Seimas to the ambassadors of European Union member states, as well as the ambassadors of the United States, Canada and Japan. He emphasized that the European Plan for Ukraine cannot only be about new money for Ukraine – although that must surely come. The plan must be about project management, it must be about streamlining delivery of existing programs, and it must be about co-ordinating the efforts of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund and the European Investment Bank and any other entity that is a friend of Ukraine that has financial strength to bring to bear. Linas Linkevičius doesn’t want his plan to be called a “New Marshall Plan” because that evokes images of another time and other circumstances. One difference is that with the Marshall Plan the United States was helping Europe; with the European Plan Europe is helping itself. Another difference is that with the Marshall Plan the war was over and Nazi Germany was defeated; with the European Plan the war is still raging and Russian aggression remains undefeated.
Linas Linkevičius has proven to be a real friend of Ukraine and champion of Ukrainians in their European home. He visited the battlefront where Russia is invading Europe in eastern Ukraine. He saw first-hand the damage that Muscovy armies had done and are doing, and he spoke to the Ukrainian soldiers who are holding the line for all Europeans against Russia.
At this early stage, the European Plan for Ukraine is envisioned to provide only five billion euros of annual support from the European Union for reforms in Ukraine aimed at economic growth and development. By comparison to the Marshall Plan of the late 1940s and early 1950s this sum is a pittance. The EU has got to back the deal that it started, the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, much more robustly than this. Russia has opposed the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement with such hysteria and violence that it forced Yanukovych out of the deal (triggering the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine), invaded Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas, and caused a strange referendum in the Netherlands – all to do everything possible to stop it. Putin has impoverished Russia to pay the insane invasion of Europe that he started in 2014. Given all of this, the least that other European countries can do is to give Ukraine – one of their own; the largest wholly European country – financial help that is on a par with the help the United States gave to Europe after the Second World War. What Lithuania has proposed as the European Plan for Ukraine is a good start. It is right and proper that Europeans who live in countries that are in the EU help out Europeans who live in a country that is not yet in the EU: Ukrainians who defend all of Europe from Putin at war.