The European Union has a moral duty to give Ukraine a membership perspective, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told the European Parliament this morning. She said that Ukraine was not fighting for itself but also for Europe.
Addressing the plenary session in Strasbourg, Kallas directed parts of her address to Russian citizens, with a message that EU sanctions “are not against you, but are intended against Vladimir Putin”. Kallas admitted that sanctions will hurt ordinary Russians too – as they are hurting Europeans.
She appealed for governments to mobilise all their technological potential to win the war for truth. “Our task is to break the wall of lies”, she added, while sharing her appeal also with global internet companies at this particular time.
Kallas was welcomed by EP President Roberta Metsola who re-iterated the need to re-assess the role of Europe in terms of security and defence, calling for stronger investment in this field.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s de facto Foreign Minister acknowledged that in the face of Russian aggression, Russia has done a lot, but still not enough, asking for further support to Ukraine’s military. He warned that the consequences of this war will be long-lasting and will be shaping European policies for the years and the decades to come.
“We are going to face the problem of gas supply, refugees, our understanding of our security and defence and the fragmentation of our economy”. With a longer-term perspective, Borrell said that the EU must look at the countries who abstained in the UN resolution against Russia, possibly out of fear of retaliation, and to seek to strengthen relationship with them.
He also called for political will for Europe to strengthen its defence and security capabilities in parallel with NATO and for Member States to increase an increase expenditure in defence, which has gone down to 1.5% of GDP. “When we look at the challenges we are facing, we would be ignoring our way of life”. Borrell said that Europe was surrounded by “a ring of fire”, including Russia, the Sahel, Syria and other threats on EU’s frontiers.