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Barroso says Europe has 'a duty' to support Ukrainians

EC head says protestors in Kiev 'fighting for their future'

09 December, 14:27
Barroso says Europe has 'a duty' to support Ukrainians (ANSA) - Milan, December 9 - Europe has "a duty" to support Ukraine, especially protesters calling for a closer relationship, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said Monday.

Thousands of protesters in Ukraine have for days been rallying in support of greater trade relations and other forms of cooperation with the European Union, although their national government has turned instead towards a tighter relationship with Russia.

"Europe has a duty to support Ukrainians because they are providing a great example," said Barroso, who was speaking at a conference in Milan.

He added that he had recently asked Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to consider a political solution to the current tensions there and recalled the need to respect civil freedoms.

Barroso said that young people are "fighting for their future" in a Europe that is seen as a land of "economic opportunities but also of justice and freedom".