Fri. May 27th, 2022

Brussels, 23 March 2022

Ahead of the European Council meeting that will discuss Russian military aggression against Ukraine, security, defence, energy, economic and foreign policy issues in Brussels on 24-25 March, ECR Co-Chair Raffaele Fitto called on the EU and its Member States to continue to show unity and solidarity and advocated for better support of the EU economies, especially in the sectors most affected by the sanctions. “If the war continues the coming weeks, growth prospects would deteriorate significantly,” Fitto said.

Mr Fitto’s speech reads in full:

“In the past 28 days, we have been witnessing the Russian aggression and the increasingly worrying amount of barbaric attacks that target civilians.  At the same time, we are also witnessing an incredible show of bravery and resilience from the Ukrainian people. In the past 28 days, our continent has also rediscovered that Cold War atmosphere that characterised the previous century.

“The EU and its Member States have so far reacted with unity and determination to Russian aggression, but we also know that this might not be enough – and in the next few weeks we might be forced to take further decisions to fight this military action.

“For this reason, we hope that the next European Council will confirm all the necessary measures to stop the Russian offensive together with our partners, and will reinforce our spirit of solidarity, cooperation and support for the millions of refugees that are now forced to leave their country, as well as for those states, like Poland, that are giving an extraordinary example in managing this humanitarian emergency.

“We all know that the sanctions are necessary, while at the same time they make us vulnerable. For this reason, there must be a stronger commitment to minimising their impact on our economies and maintaining the consensus across European public opinion.

“We positively welcome the first step taken with the Strategic Compass. Bringing defence back at to core of our activities is key. Our economies must be supported at all times, starting from the sectors that are most affected by sanctions. If the offensive continues in the next weeks, our growth expectations will be further – and definitely – compromised.

“For this reason, we should look at our economic governance rules. Going back to the old rules and procedures would be a downgrade and an incredible mistake. It will be necessary to take decisions in the field of agriculture and energy, and at the same time we must reinforce our position in light of our upcoming summit with China. This should be done by reinforcing our economic, commercial and strategic autonomy.

“We will have to be firm in asking for a resolution of the Russo-Ukrainian crisis. It is time for concrete decisions for the Europe of today, but more importantly for the Europe of tomorrow.”

Source – ECR – via e-mail