Published on 11/03/2022 17:32
French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo Credit: Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron stressed, Friday, that the European Union is not at war with Russia, although it is committed to supporting Ukraine until the end of the conflict. This came during a press conference after the summit of the leaders of the bloc in the French city of Versailles.
Macron said a G7 statement would later detail additional sanctions against Moscow. According to him, the Western allies are ready to impose further punishment on the Kremlin, if necessary. “All options are still on the table,” he commented.
The French president said the Europeans had proposed a program worth another 500 million euros to help the Ukrainians. He believes that the priority at the moment is to ensure an immediate ceasefire and a quick withdrawal of Russian forces from neighboring lands.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday that the process of Ukraine’s entry into the European Union had progressed at a rapid pace. According to her, following Kyiv’s request, the leaders of the bloc discussed this issue at a summit in Versailles, France.
“Today we have paved the way towards Ukraine. The country is part of our European family,” he said during a press conference, together with the Presidents of the European Council Charles Michel and French Emmanuel Macron.
Von der Leyen said the commission would soon form an opinion on Ukrainian accession to the EU. According to her, the request is an expression of Ukraine’s right to choose its own destiny.
The European Commission president also stressed that the war in Eastern Europe was a turning point for the EU, which would need to make “significant additional investments” in defense to protect itself. “Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine is an assault on our values,” he commented.
After a summit of EU leaders in Versailles, France, Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc would introduce a fourth round of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. “These international sanctions will isolate Russia from the international context,” he said at a press conference, without going into further details.
Von der Leyen also revealed that by the end of this month, the EU’s executive arm intends to submit proposals to mitigate the effects of the war on energy prices. “But we also have to think about next winter. We will form a group to determine how to renew our reserves,” he said.
According to her, the Commission is preparing a plan, for the end of May, which will outline measures aimed at making Europe independent of Russian natural gas, oil and coal by 2027.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, also defended a short-term plan for the energy sector for the upcoming winter in the northern hemisphere. “Our dependence on Russian energy is very high,” he said.
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