“Democracy stands up to tyranny” in Ukraine . says von der Leyen of the European Union
“A tyrant cannot attack a sovereign state that has the right to its territorial integrity.” This is the resolute response addressed to Russia from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Speaking exclusively to France 24 about the war in Ukraine, the EU leader added that “democracy stands against tyranny, and therefore we stand as one.”
Facing the unprecedented crisis at the EU’s borders that has sent shock waves across the bloc, Ursula von der Leyen outlines the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine. This means continuing to put economic pressure on Russia, in part through the latest sanctions identified this week, which have had “a significant impact on the Russian economy at the moment, but also have a significant impact over time on the economy, so they will have a lasting impact.” There. It is a price paid by President Putin and this is the source of our strength in the European Union,” the President of the European Commission told FRANCE 24.
Moreover, von der Leyen outlined the actions the EU wants to take to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russia, especially when it comes to fossil fuels. The President of the European Commission called on Europeans to reduce their energy consumption, urging EU countries to increase the use of renewable energy and, in the short term, to find alternatives to Russian gas, in particular turning their attention to liquefied natural gas (LNG): “If Russia is like that, we would isolate us from gas today. We will be able to continue this winter. So we already have a lot of LNG.”
As for sending a message to Ukraine regarding its accession to the European Union – a key demand of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – von der Leyen said the EU member states agreed: “Ukraine is part of our European family, and we are paving the way forward towards enlargement – widening. […] We are in an unusual situation. We need a customized solution and we need to be creative. The EU Commission chief added that the accession process has already been accelerated, with the Commission due to issue its ‘opinion’ ruling in the coming months, rather than taking years, as it did. It was the case in the past.
Produced by Isabel Romero, Georgina Robertson, Sophie Smiley and Beren Desplats
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