EPP Summit, Paris, 10 March 2022
The invasion of the Russian army into Ukraine has changed our world overnight. Not only has Ukraine been attacked but our European values themselves have been put at stake — more than at any moment since the end of the Second World War. We are learning the hard way that Putin’s Russia does not share our values of peace, cooperation and respect for state sovereignty. Since the beginning of this invasion, the EU and its Member States, together with our allies and partners around the world, have taken decisive steps to implement far-reaching sanctions intended to isolate Putin and to give military support to Ukraine so Ukrainians can better defend themselves. Our unity is unprecedented; we ask all our partners and friends to align with this effort and assist in the full implementation of sanctions. We are determined never to accept Putin’s army slaughtering innocent people and blatantly violating international law, the UN Charter and the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. Not only the West but almost the entire world stands united against Russia’s full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. We strongly support the 2 March 2022 United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s aggressive invasion and demonstrating the unity of the international community. Sanctions must be comprehensive and aimed at the cessation of all
trade with Russia — including, ultimately, Russia’s energy exports. We cannot allow war crimes to be paid for with European money.
Europe has for decades been a continent of peace. Peace, reconciliation and cooperation are the European Union’s core values; they are the European project’s raison d’être
following the death and destruction suffered in two world wars. It is our moral duty to help and support Ukraine in defending our common European values against the revisionist fantasies of a ruthless authoritarian regime. As voted by the European Parliament in the TA-9-2022-0052 motion we call for the EU institutions to work towards granting EU candidate status to Ukraine, in line with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union and on the basis of merit, and, in the meantime, to continue to work towards its integration into the EU single market along the lines of the Association Agreement.
The world must stop Putin. We must do everything we can to help Ukrainians defend themselves. Ukraine needs our support in the form of defensive weapons; Ukraine needs effective air defence and missile defence systems. We must continue to receive into the EU all Ukrainians needing asylum and, alongside partners and allies forming a large international coalition, to isolate Putin’s regime economically and politically. We must urgently establish functioning green corridors allowing humanitarian aid to enter and refugees to leave: to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.
All sanctions must be coordinated with transatlantic allies and like-minded international partners in order to maximise their effectiveness. We must expand sectoral sanctions: to increase the number of banks cut off from international financial systems, to discuss the nationalisation and confiscation of Russian high officials’ property and to ban from EU territory all Russian TV propaganda. Since Lukashenko has used Belarus as a launching base for the invasion of Ukraine — and, according to many reports, has sent his own Belarusian forces towards Ukraine — the EU must enlarge the sanctions package against Belarus, including SWIFT exclusion for Belarusian banks. And yet all this is only the beginning of a new approach which puts Europe’s security at the top of our priorities list.
Strengthening Europe’s Security and Defence
Faced now with an altogether changed security situation, the European Union and its Member States must step up their defence capabilities and take steps towards a genuine Defence Union. We must ensure the EU can act effectively in a crisis and respond appropriately to military threats: to protect its Member States and closest partners. We have received a clear wake-up call: we must transform Europe from a soft power into a resilient, hard one. We want peace and stability; we hope for a free and democratic Russia which will share our values and together with us build a future of peace, stability and prosperity.
The EPP calls on EU Member States to invest at least 2% of their annual GDP towards their defence budgets in order to bolster our common defence and strengthen our partnership in the transatlantic alliance. To improve the EU’s ability to act, we call for extending the use of qualified majority voting in certain cases in the context of the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy. We also highlight the need to strengthen EU resilience vis-à-vis hybrid and disinformation attacks as well as EU cyber defence capacities, in order to better protect our citizens and critical infrastructure.
Securing Europe’s energy resilience
The EPP remains committed to combatting climate change, per the Paris Agreement; we need now also to reorient our energy policy in order to significantly reduce our dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal. This means diversifying our gas supply by further investments in LNG terminals, unbundling gas storage and increasing energy efficiency and renewables’ share in our energy mix. Investments in green hydrogen and energy storage will further strengthen EU energy security. Moreover, we urge Member States wanting to abandon the low-carbon option of nuclear energy to review these decisions now in light of the dramatically altered situation. We will need all energy sources available to ensure the security of supply — in particular low-carbon sources, including nuclear. The EU’s energy and climate change strategy will need to unbundle the shift to renewables from increasing dependence on natural gas.
Ensuring Europe’s food security
The war could severely threaten global food security. Both Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s top five exporters of important cereals and oil seeds — including wheat, barley, sunflowers and maize — as well as of nitrogenous fertilisers. To ensure food security for all Europeans, we must reassess our agricultural policy: we must increase self-sufficiency from the current 80% to 100%, adapting the provisions in the Green Deal accordingly. Agriculture is not a luxury; it is essential to our very survival.