“Solidarity with Ukraine is as existential to Ukraine as it is to Europe”, said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola to European leaders at the European Council.
The Maltese MEP gave an opening speech on the first day of the summit, expected to be dominated again by events in Ukraine.
She said, “The events in Russia have raised a number of questions relating to its internal dynamics and the fragility of their systems as well as its effects on the invasion of Ukraine and on European security as a whole.”
“Solidarity with Ukraine must remain at the top of our agenda. It is as existential to Ukraine as it is to Europe. We need to hold steady – even if in the coming months things get harder for Ukraine.”
“In this respect, I welcome the 11th package of sanctions and the additional €50 billion in support for Ukraine’s repair, recovery and reconstruction announced last week.”
“Stepping up will require that we deliver on the promises we have made on opening EU membership negotiations. Ukraine’s commitment and substantial efforts on its path for reform, including on meeting the requirements for its EU candidate status, have been extraordinary.”
The MEP told the leaders in Brussels, “We must be ready to take membership negotiations to the next stage when the reform criteria have been sufficiently met – and I hope it will happen sooner rather than later.”
“Strengthening our defence-related industrial base, improving innovation, reducing our dependencies, becoming more autonomous and building trust must be central to our new security and defence policy. The political agreement we reached this week on the joint procurement in defence will help Member States restock their defence needs and become more interoperable. It will also help Ukrainians, who count on our delivery of weapons and ammunition.”
“The progress on our negotiations on the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) is also encouraging and I remain convinced that, after the Parliament adopted its position a month ago, we will reach a political agreement in the coming weeks.”
“Together we are matching demand with supply. We are matching rhetoric with action. We are delivering.”
“And now we need to deliver on a new security and defence architecture where we ensure that the EU and NATO are able to complement each other, without creating duplications or giving the impression of competition, ” said the deputy.