22 Feb, 2022

Liberals call for European and transatlantic unity in the face of the Russian threat

The 58th edition of the Munich Security Conference was overshadowed by the threat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In this extraordinary time, the liberal voice was well represented in Munich with the European Council President Charles Michel, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and ALDE Party Vice-President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff participating in the Conference.

Michel, who took part in the conversation "Digital, Green, Unified, and Global? Shaping the Future of the EU" underlined the importance of European and transatlantic unity in response to Russia threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also expressed a clear support for Ukrainian democracy and emphasized that Russia would face massive European sanctions if it decided to invade the country.

Adding to 1.2 billion euro of macro-economic assistance already assigned to Ukraine by the European Union, President Michel presented his proposal to hold an international donor conference to support the stability of the Ukrainian economy.

“We staunchly support Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy. Its people made the choice of democratic values, rule of law, and reform. The Kremlin sees this as an existential threat. Its goal to weaken western and EU support to Ukraine is a miscalculation”, he declared.

Michel also emphasized the role of values and rule of law to preserve the European unity, reduce its dependencies and continue the EU path of excellency in forging international standards.

Attending the "Strategic Circuit Breakers: Cooperation and Competition in the Technology Sector" discussion, Breton focused on geopolitics and security of supply chains. He declared that the European Union would be covering 20% of the global semi-conductors’ demand by 2030, doubling the current level. Commissioner Breton highlighted accordingly that the European leadership on regulations, and their stability coupled with skills would the EU’s competitive advantages.

“Back from the Munich Security Conference where I held fruitful keynote and meetings on: the new geopolitics of supply chains and the role of semiconductors and the EU Chips Act in our security and autonomy”, he said.

Simson delivered an opening speech on the geoeconomics of climate change where she warned against creating new dependencies and encouraged to profit from opportunities to go further with the green transition.

“A very timely discussion at the Munich Security Conference on geoeconomics of climate change. The impact of climate change is already here. We must be careful not to create new dependencies, but the opportunities of green transition can also reinforce old and prompt new partnerships”, she asserted.

De Croo participated on a panel called “Back to Elysium: Fostering European Cohesion” where he emphasized the importance of maintaining unity within NATO.

“At the Munich Security Conference, I emphasized the importance of maintaining unity within NATO. Three years ago, the alliance was coined braindead. Today it is more alive & united than ever. We need to keep this unity. It’s easy to bully a small country, but not when it’s part of a block of 30”, he declared.

Kallas highlighted the importance of rule of law principles for the EU’s unity while recalling her conversations with the government of Poland. She emphasized the need to enhance the EU’s military cooperation and increase the defense spending pointing out her country as an example since Estonia raised it to 2.4% of its GDP.

Emphasised in a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference 2022 focusing on the unity and future of the EU: Europe is not defined by geography rather by principles and values, and we have learned a lot from recent crisis. They have made us stronger. Now we need to work on keeping this unity”, she commented.

Graf Lambsdorff focused on the critical moment the European continent is living with the Russian threat to Ukraine. He stated that, with the ongoing tension between European democracies and autocracies, liberals will continue working tirelessly to ensure that the European Union and the whole continent remains safe and free.

“I am here at the Munich Security Conference, a particularly crucial one. It’s a question of war and peace in the East of our continent. Of democracy versus autocracy in many countries around the world. Liberals are here at the forefront of debates and discussions, providing ideas and impulses to keep our continent safe and free and to work for liberty around the world. I am looking forward to an exciting two days and I very much hope that peace will stay in Europe”, he said.

Photo credit: Munich Security Conference 2022

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