This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.
“Our way of life is worth defending. It is worth a cost. For the next generation, for all those in Ukraine and around the world who believe in Europe. For all those who want to be free.”
Addressing the extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola set our four important principles for the future of the European Union.
First, Europe can no longer remain reliant on Kremlin gas. “We need to re-double our efforts to diversify our energy systems towards a Europe that is no longer at the behest of autocrats. This will put our energy security on stronger footing.”
Secondly, President Metsola said that Europe can no longer welcome Kremlin cash and pretend there are no strings attached. “Putin’s oligarchs and those who bankroll him should no longer be able to use their purchasing power to hide behind a veneer of respectability, in our cities, communities or our sports clubs.”
Thirdly, investment in our defence must match our rhetoric. President Metsola emphasised that “Europe must move to have a real security and defence Union. We have shown the last week that it is possible and desirable, and more than anything itis necessary.”
Fourthly, President Metsola spoke about the importance of fighting Kremlin’s disinformation campaign. “I call on social media and tech conglomerates to take their responsibility seriously and to understand that there is no being neutral between the fire and the fire brigade.”
Thanking Ukrainian President Zelenskyy for showing the world what it means to stand up, President Metsola said that the European Parliament recognises Ukraine’s European perspective. “As our Resolution clearly states, we welcome Ukraine’s application for candidate status and we will work towards that goal. We must face the future together.”
In her speech, President Metsola also announced that having a long, proud history of being a thorn in the side of autocrats, the European Parliament will seek a ban on any representative of the Kremlin from entering its premises. “Aggressors and warmongers have no place in the House of democracy.”
Watch the Plenary Session here.
Read President Metsola’s speech here.
Members of the European Parliament are currently debating with European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement of the final vote on the draft resolution is scheduled for 17.15. The draft resolution tabled by political groups is available here.
Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (led by President Roberta Metsola and comprising of the leaders of Parliament’s political groups) decided on Thursday 24 February to hold an extraordinary plenary session in Brussels to assess the situation in Ukraine. In a statement, they condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and called the invasion unjustified and illegal.