EU will prevail over Russia – von der Leyen
If the EU shows bravery and unity, it will gain the upper hand against Russia amid the conflict in Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
“Let us be very clear – much is at stake. Not just for Ukraine, but for all of Europe and the world at large,” Von der Leyen insisted in her State of Union speech on Wednesday.
“This is not only a war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine, this is also a war on our energy. It’s a war on our economy. It’s a war on our values. It’s a war on our future. It’s about autocracy against democracy,” she said.
However, despite large parts of Ukrainian territory remaining under Russian control, and the looming energy crisis in Europe resulting from the EU’s sanctions on Moscow, the EU Commission chief expressed confidence that the outcome of the Ukraine conflict will be positive for Brussels.
“I stand here with a conviction that with the necessary courage and with necessary solidarity Putin will fail and Ukraine and Europe will prevail,” she said to great applause. “Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakable.”
She also praised the EU for its response to the Russian military operation, which has included military and humanitarian support for Ukraine, as well as the “toughest sanctions the world has ever seen.”
However, von der Leyen acknowledged that achieving victory against Russia would require serious sacrifices from European citizens. “The moments ahead of us will not be easy – be it for the families who are struggling to make ends meet, or businesses who are facing tough choices concerning their future.”
Supplies of Russian oil and gas to Europe have drastically decreased amid the conflict in Ukraine, due to EU sanctions and Moscow’s countermeasures. People in Austria, the Czech Republic, and other countries in the bloc have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the soaring costs of energy, demanding that their leaders do something to resolve the crisis. However, there is a lack of unity in the EU on the idea of a price cap on Russian gas, which is being pushed by von der Leyen as a relief measure. Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia are among those that oppose the plan.