Aware of the gravity of the situation in Europe, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke a strong speech before the European Parliament without any nuances of internal politics, as is often the case, but full of allusions to war and the idea that, despite all the difficulties, the European Union “will prevail and Vladimir Putin will be defeated” .
In fact, he began by saying that this was the first time that the annual State of the Union address was delivered with a war on European soil, something that is not just rhetorical but has serious consequences for citizens and their economy. It has undoubtedly helped that the Ukrainian troops have known a succession of successes in recent days, which has favored the impression among MEPs that all the effort that is being asked of the Europeans makes sense. Addressing those who might prefer to bet on bringing Ukraine as soon as possible to negotiate a settlement with Russia, von der Leyen told them that the invasion of Ukraine is also a war against democracy and that “this is not the time for appeasement” or negotiations with the Russian dictator. “There is too much at stake and not only for Ukraine, but for all of us as well and for the world in general. It is not just a war against Ukraine, it is a war against our energy, our values and our future, it is a war of autocracy against democracy. Putin will fail and Ukraine and Europe will prevail.” To a far-left spokeswoman who showed her electricity bills with astronomical amounts as a sign of social concern, the president curtly told her to send them to Putin.
EOlena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, attended the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg from one of the seats reserved for officials of the European Commission. President von der Leyen and half a dozen commissars wore ensembles based on the colors of the Ukrainian flag for the occasion.
The President of the Community Executive welcomed the “united, rapid and effective” reaction of the EU to the invasion of Ukraine and assured that at this time, due to the sanctions Russian industry “is decimated” and for us “it is time to resolve, not appeasement” that would mean giving Putin a way out. “The sanctions [contra Rusia] they are here to stay,” said the president, despite the fact that at the moment there are no plans to expand them in any case, nor is there an agreement between the countries to adopt measures such as putting a cap on the price of Russian gas.
In this regard, he mentioned the platform proposed by France as a European Political Community “beyond joining the EU” for the countries around us, with direct allusions to Ukraine, a country whose reconstruction promised to financebeginning with a donation of one hundred million euros to restart schools that have been destroyed by Russian bombing.
«The objective of the Russian missiles not only violates international law but is an attempt to end the multilateral world order, which forces us to rethink our foreign policy, investing in the defense of our democracies, which has to start in a core of democratic countries. We have to work more closely with these democracies and that can only be done by strengthening democracy on our continent, starting with the countries around us that want to move forward: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkans should know that they are part of our project that our Union is not complete without you’.
But in a message to the member countries he also said that “if we are serious about enlargement, we have to be serious about reforming the treaties” because with the current rules it is considered impossible for an EU to function. to thirty or thirty-five countries. That is why she dared to say something that is a real political earthquake. “It is time for a new Convention”, which is the previous step to design a reform of the treaties, something that nobody really believes is possible in this environment so disparate between the countries and that may be even more so after the elections in Italy.
It has been more than fifteen years since anyone has dared to even mention this option, so clearly it is perceived its impossibility since the agreement of all countries would be needed when more tensions on the basic questions of the future of the EU have accumulated especially after Brexit.