Brussels is looking at more sanctions against Russia and ensuring those in place bite hard, EU Council President, Charles Michel, told the European Parliament.
He said that in close coordination with the G7, “we will consider sanctions on gold. We will also explore measures, such as price caps, to secure energy supply and to try to reduce price surges.”
During a discussion on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of June 23-24, Michel noted: “The Kremlin’s barbaric war against Ukraine has marked a tectonic shift on our continent and created a new geopolitical reality.”
He said the 27 EU leaders have decided to recognise the European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, and the future of these countries lies within the bloc.
“We also decided to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova.
“This sends a strong message to their people and our EU citizens.
“We are also ready to grant candidate status to Georgia once the priorities in the Commission’s opinion have been addressed.”
Michel said that since the Russian invasion, “we have responded with unity to support Ukraine, and we will stay right by their side for as long as it takes.
“We will continue to provide military support — we have already done a lot, but Ukraine needs more: so we called for increasing military support for Ukraine.”
“We will also continue to support Ukraine financially, and we count on the Commission to soon present a proposal to grant Ukraine new Macro-Financial Assistance of up to €9 bln in 2022.
“We are also committed to supporting Ukraine’s reconstruction, together with international partners.”
Michel said the European Union needs the Western Balkans as they need Brussels.
“We decided how to re-energise our engagement with this region, and we reaffirmed our strong commitment to revive the enlargement process and to see how to clear the obstacles along the way.”
Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič told MEPs that Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are undoubtedly members of the European family.
He said that one of the reasons for the Russian attack was Ukraine’s decision to apply for EU membership, adding that the EU response was clear and acknowledged the immense progress made by Ukraine.
Many MEPs underlined that the road to accession will be long and require many reforms for Ukraine and Moldova.
They stressed that the EU should find other ways to support the countries in the meantime, including with military equipment, some argued. (source CNA)