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The European Union mobilized for Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron, together with Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, Head of the European Commission, concluded the two-day summit of 27 European Union heads of state and government this Friday at the Palace of Versailles. The leaders have been trying to figure out how to help Ukraine, militarily and politically, as the Russian military continues its invasion.
More weapons to Ukraine
To counter the Russian invasion and to support the Ukrainian army, the European Union had already voted an initial envelope of nearly EUR 500 million for the supply of military equipment, including fighter planes and missiles. This effort will be strengthened, Emmanuel Macron announced. “We proposed today that the European Peace Facility (Editor’s Note: Who makes it possible to fund this aid) or an additional 500 million euros,” Emmanuel Macron revealed.
“We Europeans are not waging war against Russia, but we support Ukraine and punish Russia,” explains Emmanuel Macron. But we must do our part and make historic decisions. †
Further on the diplomatic road
The European Union is not giving up its effort to resolve the conflict through diplomatic channels. Especially since Russian President Vladimir Putin said he saw “positive progress” in talks with Ukraine. “I will inform you (…) how the negotiations are progressing, which are now taking place almost daily. There are some positive steps,” he said, without giving further details. “Our first goal is a return to peace, starting with a ceasefire and then the withdrawal of Russian troops,” said Emmanuel Macron.
“We are now going to attack a fourth package of sanctions that will make it possible to isolate Russia even more,” Ursula von der Leyen said, without specifying what these new sanctions would be.
Towards EU membership for Ukraine?
There is “no speedy procedure to join the European Union,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte recalled on Thursday, as Ukraine had applied in hopes of joining “without delay”. Emmanuel Macron said nothing further: “Can we have accelerated the membership of a country at war without looking at the other criteria? The answer is no. “There are conditions that must be met in order to leave the European Union,” recalls Ursula von der Leyen.
“The application for membership is an expression of his right to choose his own destiny, Ursula von der Leyen noted Friday. Today we paved the way and Ukraine is part of the European family. “Ukraine indeed belongs to the family of the European Union,” Emmanuel Macron added, specifying that applications for membership from Moldova and Georgia will be examined.
Before the conclusion of the summit by Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had estimated that the European Union should do “more” for Ukraine. “We have to go faster. This is not what we expect,” he says. “The decisions of politicians must match the mood of their peoples, the European peoples (…) The European Union must do more for us, for Ukraine. »
Against dependence on Russian energy
Sanctions against Russia face an obstacle: that of the Old Continent’s dependence on Russian exports, especially those of gas. Ursula von der Leyen drew up the plan with which the 27 agreed to reduce this dependence. “We need to get rid of dependence on Russian gas,” she said. And the President of the European Commission to call for the “Repower EU” plan to “implement the transition in favor of renewables” and to propose “alternatives to Russian gas and oil by 2027”.
“We are going to set up a working group for the coming winter to replenish our stocks,” Ursula von der Leyen revealed. “In the meantime, we need to work on a new design to meet these needs so that our gas reserves are 90% full by October 1 each year,” she added. “We have already started building a path of independence,” noted Emmanuel Macron, calling for “ambitious” strategies. “We must prepare to desensitize ourselves to this dependence on Russia,” warned Emmanuel Macron, the French president who expects “sanctions” from Russia. “It is a plan that requires new investment,” said the French president.
Food plan warning
Inflation, which Europe has been watching for months, should accelerate with the war in Ukraine. If measures are taken at national level, they should be broader, according to the heads of state of the countries of the European Union. “There will be an impact all over Europe, for families and businesses,” European Council President Charles Michel did not hide. “Our Europe in this regard has been destabilized by the war, and in 12-18 months that will be even more than what we can’t plant at the moment,” explains Emmanuel Macron. “Europe and Africa will be very deeply destabilized in terms of food,” he warned, citing the risk of “famine”.
A plan for European defense
European leaders approved a joint statement from Thursday to Friday committing themselves to “significantly increasing their defense spending” to “increase their ability to act autonomously” and “to ensure their mutual assistance”. “In the field of defense, we want to be able to define the investments we need, identify the needs and capabilities that are ours,” explains Emmanuel Macron.
The 27 heads of state of the European Union therefore want to set up a real industry from a defense perspective. “Importing would make no sense,” justified Emmanuel Macron. “In May, before the NATO summit”, a strategy will be worked out and can be discussed.