In Kiev, meetings were held with the Ukrainian Government and Parliament (Rada) on the possibilities of CBC in Ukrainian border regions. Further meetings were held in Odessa Region with Odessa regional authorities on their interests and participation in AEBR. A visit took place to Odessa port where the AEBR delegation met with representatives of the Odessa Port Authority, and representatives of a subsidiary of the Port of Hamburg which has invested heavily in Odessa Port. Meetings were also held with local authorities (municipalities) in Odessa region and programme representatives from the Romanian and Moldovan side (on Ukraine’s western border). These discussions focused on the Lower Danube Euroregion and opportunities and processes for enhancing CBC in the area. A round table was organized in Izmail on this issue, and to prepare for the organization of the General Assembly of Ukrainian Border Regions which is planned for later in 2020.
Further activities were organized with the University of Izmail who kindly hosted a panel and Q&A session for AEBR representatives with staff and students of the University which is becoming a strong economic anchor in Odessa Region and South Western Ukraine. The delegation also visited projects on the ground at this triple border between Ukraine, Romania and Moldova, and had a chance to understand the rich history, culture and archaeology of Bessarabia as well as seeing the wonderful opportunity currently under development to create an EU land bridge between Bessarabia and Romanian neighbours at Orlivka, reconnecting with this historical crossing point of the Danube. We also had the opportunity to meet with internationally renowned Ukrainian singer and artist, Ruslana, to discuss issues relating to Clean Energy, an issue on which she is a committed international advocate. We talked about her plans to support Ukraine CBC and AEBR initiatives within the EU Green Deal.
AEBR was privileged to receive such a welcome and wonderful hospitality across Ukraine, and to hear about the level of interest and renewed commitment to CBC along Ukrainian Borders- we were particularly interested to hear about ideas for cross-cutting themes which can connect all Ukrainian border regions, such as Culture Without Borders, Clean Energy Without Borders, and we are aware that Public Health Without Borders is now an emerging priority as people respond to the Covid emergency. AEBR as an independent NGO supports all its members including those on external EU borders, and AEBR will continue to facilitate and support progress in border regions wherever our members need us. The visit ended with a musical and dance event where Martin Guillermo and Caitriona Mullan from AEBR entertained people with a rendition of the famous Irish song ‘Danny Boy’, accompanied by the well-known Ukrainian musician and producer Aleksander Yaholnyk- we know that music is an international language that brings people together wherever they are!
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