Remarks by President Charles Michel at the European Parliament debate on EU-Russia relations

Remarks by President Charles Michel at the European Parliament debate on EU-Russia relations

This is expected to be an important geopolitical week for the European Union.

We will hold our joint summit with the African Union. Some eighty delegations and leaders of African and European governments are arriving in Brussels to negotiate a strategic partnership between our two continents. Yet, the extremely serious situation in Eastern Europe has crept into all our agendas.

Allow me to lay out the range of actions taken by the European Union to deal with this crisis, in very close coordination with our allies. Let me explain, too, how the European Council will approach our future decisions, in the short or longer term.

Russia has undertaken an unprecedented military escalation against Ukraine. The Russian authorities have repeatedly said they have no aggressive intentions towards this sovereign country.  And this despite already annexing part of Ukrainian territory, Crimea, in 2014 and constantly undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty, especially in eastern Ukraine.

Encircling a country with an extraordinary deployment of military forces – never seen before – can only be seen as aggressive and threatening behaviour. This escalation not only endangers the stability and integrity of Ukraine. It also threatens peace and security in Europe, and the rules-based international system.

We, the EU, Member States and our NATO allies are working together at every level, on a daily basis, consulting politically and acting together. We are working at a level of intensity and quality that we have not seen for years.  Our unity is stronger than ever.

We have adopted a strong, clear, and united strategy, in three areas:

First, diplomacy. We have chosen to give every opportunity to the diplomatic route. European and American leaders have undertaken a large number of diplomatic initiatives and missions. We have activated negotiating platforms for dialogue with Russia, such as NATO, the OSCE, or the Normandy format. I would like to commend Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron on their role in this regard.

We have never stopped giving priority to diplomatic channels. Even when these efforts did not seem to produce immediate and tangible results. In the last two days, Russia has signalled that it may be open to diplomacy. We urge Russia to take immediate and tangible steps towards de-escalation, because this is the condition for sincere political dialogue. We cannot forever attempt diplomacy, while the other side is amassing troops.

Source: Remarks by President Charles Michel at the European Parliament debate on EU-Russia relations – Consilium (europa.eu)

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/nl/vectors/europese-unie-europa-vlag-eu-155207/

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