Ladies and gentlemen,
Latvia, Europe and Ukraine lived a normal life until this February. We had our individual dreams and problems that kept us busy. But then the world changed in early morning of the 24 February. War.
Ukrainian people consolidated around the integrity of their country. The whole democratic world joined hands to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian aggression.
I am extremely glad that Sustento decided to focus its conference on this topic. It is good that you have started thinking about the rehabilitation and reintegration of Ukrainian war victims so early on.
War kills soldiers and innocent civilians. Latvia is glad to help with rehabilitation of Ukrainian soldiers who have suffered severe injuries defending their country.
Sustento, you help accommodate Ukrainian refugees with disabilities who have fled to Latvia. First Lady, my wife Andra, visited the SenRīga Centre in March to meet with Ukrainian refugees and praised Sustento for excellent results.
Today’s conference brings together experts and policymakers from Latvia and Ukraine. It is a great chance to share the experience of Europe in fostering inclusive society. You will address the issues of people with disabilities re-joining their families after a period of separation in institutional setting, how to reconstruct the physical infrastructure after the war in Ukraine to make it universally accessible again, how to apply principles of inclusive society in all everyday situations, how science and innovations can contribute to solving common problems faced by people.
You will address topics that you have vast knowledge about and where your attitudes do matter. Once again, thank you for your enormous energy and input!
I wish you a fruitful discussion!