On Wednesday morning, MEPs discussed the conclusions of last week’s European Council summit with Presidents Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen.
MEPs very broadly welcomed the unity heads of state or government showed when adopting an additional packet of sanctions against Russia and the determination to tackle the food insecurity caused by Russia.
Numerous MEPs however said that not enough attention had been devoted by the summit to addressing the negative effects of the war on the daily lives of EU citizens, notably due to sharp increases in food and energy prices. Many MEPs called for this to be properly addressed at the next meeting of heads of state or government. A number of MEPs also warned against shifting energy dependency from one region of the world to another, saying that this would only be repeating the mistakes of the past. Finally, various MEPs also stressed the urgent need to arm Ukraine better, arguing that although sanctions were an effective weapon against Russia, their effect would be felt in the long term only, not in the next few months when Ukraine most needed Russia to be weakened. You can watch the first round of MEPs’ interventions here.
European Council President, Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen opened the debate. Both slammed Russia’s cynical tactic of weaponising food and world hunger, while weaving lies to confuse and divide. They outlined how the EU would continue helping Ukraine in the war and to rebuild, and also how it would work to alleviate food shortages. They both also insisted that Russia would need to pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction. You can watch their opening statements here.
You can watch the full debate here.