Dear Prime Minister,
A very warm welcome. It is a pleasure to meet you finally in person. The European Commission – and myself – we are very glad to have you as a partner. These are challenging times, and standing united, we are much stronger. We have to master several crises: We have to master the climate crisis; we are at Europe’s recovery from COVID-19; we have to master the economic recovery again. And of course, there is the very volatile backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine crisis that we see at the moment. So it is good to count on your friendship, your dedication to our common European priorities. And of course, I am very much looking forward to the Czech Presidency in the second half of this year. This will be a very important part of the discussions that we will have together now.
But we will also, of course, today address the situation in Ukraine. We will have discussions with all EU Leaders, all 27, in a few hours, to further coordinate our positions. Diplomacy has not yet spoken its last word. That is good. We still have hope that peace will prevail. And I commend the efforts of many EU Leaders who have engaged with both parties, seeking to find a diplomatic solution. Now, we hear claims from Russia about pulling back troops. But we have not seen any signs, so far, of de-escalation on the ground. To the contrary, we see that the build-up continues. Therefore now, we need deeds to trust the words we have heard. We will not let our guard down.
We will stay vigilant and united. Over the past days, I had intensive contacts with many partners, both on our response to any aggression by Russia and on our preparedness. We are ready. We hope for the best but we are prepared for the worst.
And, Prime Minister, these will be all the topics that we will discuss together. So again, a very warm welcome.
Source: Statement by the President with Czech Prime Minister Fiala (europa.eu)
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/nl/photos/internationale-banier-vlag-2690817/