On Europe Day 2014, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.

The people of Europe celebrate 9 May as Europe Day, marking the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration that opened the way for the eventual establishment of the European Union.

In 1950, only five years after Europe had been devastated by war European statesmen started developing a vision of a Europe that is whole and of European states that will never be again at war with each other. From this vision the European Union emerged. Today the Union has twenty-eight member states and a population of more than five hundred million people. Its motto, “United in diversity” reflects the reality of modern day European that rejects xenophobia and is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past

As we celebrate Europe Day this year our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine who over the last few months have seen turmoil and violence, as well as a threat to the very existence of their country. They also want to be part of the European family. Indeed it was a fear that their European aspirations that first brought them out in their thousands on the streets of Kiev last November.

Europe must stand in the people of Ukraine not to influence their choice, but to give them a choice. Ukrainians and their leaders on their part must be clear what the values that underpin Europe are, and on that basis decide where they want their country to be. “United in diversity” certainly must be the slogan that Ukrainians should embrace, for the richness of the diversity of their country is certainly one of its most attractive features.

Happy Europe Day 2014.