“Lukashenko and Putin are two sides of the same coin”, EP President Roberta Metsola said during an EU Summit in Brussels. “Sanctions on Russia must go hand in hand with sanctions on Belarus. We should not move on this. Those who have given up everything for a democratic Belarus and who look to us for support are looking to us again now”, she insisted.
Metsola also tackled the issue of food security, noting how the pressure that Russia’s invasion has caused on global food supply chains is extremely worrying. “It goes beyond Europe. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the world will face real famine. If Ukraine is not allowed to toil its fields, we are looking at a global multi-year lack of food supplies.”
Metsola argued that Russia is blackmailing the world while filling up its own silos with stolen Ukrainian wheat and cereals. “We urgently need to find ways to get grain moving out of Ukraine to where it is most needed in the world. We must increase the solidarity lanes as announced by the European Commission and explore other possibilities to get grain on the move.”
Addresing the EU leaders, Metsola brought up again the objective of energy autonomy, which she has championed from the first hours of the Russian invasion. “The overarching goal of energy autonomy, for me, is an overriding factor. Achieving our Green Deal objectives is the best way to wean ourselves off toxic dependencies from unreliable partners.”
Metsola called on leaders to act swiftly in both sectors with a common goal to protect European households from severe price fluctuations. “We should work on developing common mechanisms and purchasing platforms on gas and optimise our electricity market so that they fend off future price volatility. The swift conclusion of negotiations on the gas storage requirement shows we can deliver – but we need more. Our investments on energy and in the green transition must be seen as much as a security issue as it is an environmental one – which is also why the Fit for 55 package is so essential”.