Opening the debate on Wednesday afternoon, Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Canada was an ally and precious partner of the EU. “Our relationship has withstood the test of time”, she said. Addressing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Metsola stressed the joint commitment the EU and Canada have made and said their shared core values were under attack. “This is our generation’s moment to live up to the world we have inherited”, she added.
In his speech, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned “Putin’s criminal invasion of a sovereign, independent, democracy: Ukraine.”
“Vladimir Putin has violated the most basic precepts of international law. And he is now killing innocent civilians by bombing hospitals and residential buildings. This blatant disregard for the law and for human life poses an immense threat to Europe and to the world”, he said.
“Canada, the EU, and all of our partners and allies are facing a defining moment. We cannot fail. We must meet this moment. Putin thought democracy was weak. He thought he could weaken the EU and NATO. But he miscalculated. NATO and the EU are now more resolved and united than ever”, he said, before adding:
“We cannot let Ukraine down. They are counting on us. So let us use all the tools we have at our disposal. We must continue to impose unprecedented sanctions on Putin and his enablers in Russia and Belarus, increasing the pressure, as much as we can”, the Canadian Prime Minister said.
You can watch the recording of Mr Trudeau’s full address here.
The MEPs who took the floor after Mr Trudeau’s intervention were: Siegfried Mureşan (EPP, Romania), Iratxe García Pérez (S&D, Spain), Malik Azmani (Renew Europe, Netherlands), Ernest Urtasun (The Greens/EFA, Spain), Marco Zanni (ID, Italy), Raffaele Fitto (ECR, Italy), Nikolaj Villumsen (The Left, Denmark). You can watch the recording of their interventions here.
MEPs highlighted the importance of transatlantic unity and called for further sanctions against Russia. Defending democracy comes at a price, they said, but the cost of not defending it would be higher. MEPs also stressed the importance of the green transition and energy independence, which are crucial not only in the fight against climate change, but also to guarantee security and stability in Europe.
There were calls for more investment in security and strategic cooperation with partners like Canada. Europe should, MEPs said, build a strong military pillar within NATO and meet its financial commitments to the alliance. Members also pointed to the massive exodus of refugees from Ukraine and welcomed Canada’s decision to receive an unlimited number of people fleeing the invasion.