Speaking at the start of the EU summit on Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Europe’s defence policy and energy security on 24 March, Metsola commended Ukraine’s resistance and the unified response to the war, both in terms of humanitarian aid and sanctions against the Russian regime. President Putin “will pay an unprecedented cost”, she said.
“This invasion of Ukraine has changed everything for all of us. It means everything that we have been defending and promoting around the world about our way of life and our European values is now at stake. Europe must meet the moment if we are to ensure that this does not change everything for the next generation too. This is our moment.”
Commenting on the humanitarian situation, the President said: “Millions of people have fled Ukraine. Millions more are internally displaced… We must be ready, but more importantly we must be willing to do what is necessary to provide a future without fear for those arriving at our borders. We must lead this effort. The face of Europe we must show must be one of open hearts and open homes. A tangible expression of our European way: matching compassion with strength.”
While she welcomed the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive to cope with the current situation, she underlined the need to “find practical and workable solutions to files on asylum and migration that have been blocked for too long”. “Now is the time to reinforce our unity before we are faced with an impossible situation and again have to face our citizens with excuses on why we did not manage.”
Metsola called on EU countries to raise national defence contributions and use the EU budget more efficiently. She also stressed the need to ensure food security and protect the EU’s supply lines, farmers and people.
Turning to energy, Metsola welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to ensure common gas stocks are replenished to 80% of capacity ahead of winter and highlighted the urgent need to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. “We must urgently work to diversify our energy sources away from Russia. Our long-term target must be zero gas from the Kremlin. We know this cannot happen overnight but this is the only long-term solution”.