Working through troubled times

Dear friends, readers, and Volters,


A lot has happened over the last weeks. That’s why I will share a couple of updates over the coming days – the first one today being about my work for Ukraine.


But before going into that, I just wanted to take a second with you to breathe and acknowledge all the chaos that is going on in the world. I know that many of us open newspapers or social media in the morning and feel overwhelmed. The crises around us are all happening in parallel: The war in Ukraine, the chaos in the US congress and candidate Trump, the AfD election results in Germany, and then of course, most recently, the horrible attacks in Israel with the developments that will follow it (read my thoughts on that here) – and that’s not even all that is happening.


This suffering can be paralyzing. And very divisive. Which is why it’s all the more important we don’t allow it to paralyze or divide us. Volt is all about trying to improve the world around us, while working together constructively. This spirit is now needed more than ever – even if at times it can seem hard to believe in change.


And it can succeed: During the recent Polish elections actors with very different beliefs bridged their issues to fight against an illiberal and almost autocratic party, the PiS party. I cannot tell you how happy I am that the democratic coalition won! Now, finally, PiS will be gone – and Poland back among the countries fighting for a better EU!


In other news, I wanted to let you know that I have been re-elected as lead candidate for Volt in Germany! That means that I will head our list for the European elections in June next year. I am super excited for the campaign and grateful for the big trust by all the Volt members.


Ok. Now back to work.

Ukraine facility


One thing Europe is able and obliged to do, is to tangibly support Ukraine! And that’s what my negotiation on the Ukraine Facility (50bn for the next 4 years) is all about. The war in Ukraine is expensive, while the Ukrainian economy of course suffered. That leads to a massive monthly government deficit, which is currently being covered rather short term by mostly the US and the EU. 


This week, the European Parliament voted in favor of our position on this law with a huge majority of 512 in favor, 45 against and 63 abstentions. This sends a strong message to Kyiv but also to Moscow and Washington: our support commitment to Ukraine is strong and long term!

The two priorities that are now reflected in Parliament’s position: 


  1. A focus on the middle class, with regional and sectoral distribution of the funds, with a fixed share to Small and Medium Sized businesses (SMEs). Ukraine needs new businesses instead of pouring helicopter money over large state-owned enterprises.
  2. Good governance, checks & balances and transparency. I heard frustrations about a lack of democratic control during my trips to Kyiv. We have strengthening the role of the Rada, local actors and civil society. And we ask for a list of everyone who gets more than EUR 100.000 over 4 years.


It is important not only how much money we commit now, but also how money is allocated and distributed under the facility in general. The next step is the negotiations with the 27 relevant ministers of the EU countries. Will keep you posted! But the next newsletter will very likely be about my work on the European Asylum system.


All the best & take care of yourselves and others,