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MEP Vasile Blaga: EU will not recognise Russian documents issued in areas illegally occupied by Russia in Ukraine and Georgia

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The European Parliament agreed by a large majority at its last plenary session in Strasbourg not to recognise travel documents issued by the Russian Federation in the illegally occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia, said MEP Vasile Blaga on Monday.

MEPs agreed by 540 votes to 6 with 36 abstentions on a mandate for negotiations with the Council on a legislative proposal on the non-recognition of travel documents issued by Russia in the occupied Ukrainian regions and the so-called breakaway territories of Georgia for visa purposes or when crossing the EU’s external borders.

At the same time, MEPs amended the Council’s proposal and underlined the right of citizens from conflict zones to flee the war and their right to enter the European Union for humanitarian reasons.

“The illegal annexations in Ukraine and Georgia require clear EU decisions on the non-recognition of documents issued by Russia in those territories to be used for travel within the European Union,” said Vasile Blaga, EPP & NLP MEP, member of the LIBE Committee, which handled this dossier in the European Parliament.

“The Russian Federation must understand that the European Parliament and the European Union will not compromise on these unacceptable aggressions. At the same time, the European Union must allow access to refugees from conflict zones, honest citizens fleeing war. The European Union must also take humanitarian cases into account and provide adequate support to refugees”, said the EPP MEP.

Diana Zaim este foto jurnalist, câștigătoare a Premiul Publicului la European Youth Event 2020, cel mai mare eveniment pentru tineri organizat de Parlamentul European. Absolventă a secției germană-portugheză în cadrul Universității din București, Diana urmează în prezent programul de master ”Relații Internaționale și Integrare Europeană” în cadrul SNSPA. Pasionată de promovarea valorilor europene, Diana este parte a comunității Model European Union, cea mai amplă simulare la nivel european a procesului decizional din cadrul Uniunii Europene.

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Exclusive | On the 60th celebration of the Élysée Treaty, the German and French Ambassadors in Romania affirm that Europe will help Ukraine “how long it takes and whatever it takes”

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© Arhivă - Ambasada Germaniei în România & Ambasada Franței în România

On the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Élysée which confirmed the reconciliation between France and Germany, two former enemies on the battlefields of the two world wars and two future allies in the creation of a united Europe, the French and German ambassadors in Romania, Laurence Auer and Peer Gebauer, say that “it’s never been as important to show that reconciliation and action following reconciliation is possible” and pledge that Paris and Berlin’s support for Romania’s Schengen accession will remain “firm and unwavering”.

In an exclusive joint interview with CaleaEuropeană.ro to celebrate six decades since the signing of the Élysée Treaty, the French and German heads of diplomatic missions assured that their countries and the European Union will support Ukraine “how long it takes and whatever it takes” because it is also in the interest of Europeans that Ukraine is victorious in regaining control of its territory.

 

“Our values and our freedom are at stake on the battlefield in Ukraine,” said Peer Gebauer.

On the eve of solemn and politically important moments in Paris, at the Sorbonne and the Élysée Palace, where President Macron and Chancellor Scholz will lead a new meeting of the Franco-German Council of Ministers, the two ambassadors expressed their countries’ support for the EU enlargement process, for further debate on reforming the EU voting system with a focus on qualified majority rather than unanimous voting, and welcomed EU-NATO cooperation.

On the Republic of Moldova, the ambassadors underlined the responsibility taken by France and Germany, together with Romania. Now, the work is under the responsibility of Moldova. (…) But it’s true that we are going to help the government. We are all ready to help”, said Laurence Auer.

The two ambassadors stressed that French and German support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen area will remain the same. 

“It’s not only in the interest of Romania and of the Romanian people to become part of the Schengen family. It’s in our interest. It’s in the European interest. (…) Romania has proven itself to be always a very constructive partner of ours in the EU, in NATO, never blocking decisions, always being one of those countries that are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I think we need more “Romanias” in that endeavor”, detailed Ambassador Gebauer.

On the other hand, Ambassador Auer mentioned the economic perspective, especially as Germany and France are major investors in Romania. I’m sure this position is backed by our companies. (…) They are losing money every day by the absence of accession to Schengen. So you have our both business communities backing your objective. So, the sooner the better. And our two countries back unconditionally Romania towards the accession”, she said.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Good afternoon, everybody. We kick off this year with a special interview on Calea Europeană. There are many moments in the history of the European Union, but some have a special significance like the friendship between France and Germany. We have today together with us the French ambassador to Romania, Mrs. Laurence Auer. Thank you for this interview, Madam Ambassador. And we also have together with us, Mr. Ambassador Peer Gebauer, the ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Romania. Thank you very much for this interview for Calea Europeană. It’s a pleasure to be hosted by you on such an important occasion. We are at one year of Russia’s war Ukraine, but there are also moments of celebration in Europe and one of them is the reconciliation between France and Germany. Today we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, but also the fourth anniversary of the Aachen Treaty that put Germany and France together in a partnership for Europe. Today, when we think of Germany and France we think to the powerhouse of the European Union. Not just in terms of influence in EU decision making process, but also in terms that the European unity we cherish and benefit from nowadays would have not been possible without the German – French reconciliation. Where does the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, and the 4th of the Aachen Treaty, find the German – French partnership and the European Union as a whole?

Laurence Auer (French Ambassador): Thank you very much for inviting us. It’s a symbol that we can have a shared interview with Calea Europeană. It’s also a symbol that we can do it today with the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty. Today we have in the Élysée again the President (Emmanuel Macron), the Chancellor (Olaf Scholz), ministers, and it’s never been as important to show that reconciliation and action following reconciliation is possible. In my view today, in Europe, it’s all the more important that we can show exactly what is built by France and Germany together concretely for the citizens. It’s a new treaty that we have since 2019 with plenty of actions. But today for France we wanted to focus on topics, somehow security, but also industry, action, climate change and the youth, because we thought that we needed to invest in new perspective altogether. And to build on those topics which are key to the continent in agreement between those two founding fathers of the EU.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Yes, if we take a look to the photo chronicle of the European Union, we see President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at the Élysée Treaty shaking hands for the for the future of Europe that we are living here today. But, of course, the main topic that drives the international agenda is Russia’s brutal and illegal war against Ukraine. One year after a lot has happened and major decisions were taken at EU and transatlantic level, despite one another arguing that Berlin and Paris were previously not convinced that Russia will invade. What can the EU, Germany and France further do to help Ukraine while also keeping in mind that 2023 is the year that precedes the 2024 elections, and the EU has its own internal challenges to address. Do you envisage a “how long as it takes” approach to help Ukraine or a more balanced one?

Dr. Peer Gebauer (German Ambassador): I do expect a clear continuation of the “how long it takes and whatever it takes” approach that we have taken as an EU, as France and Germany. And this is the case because it’s not only in the interest of Ukraine, it’s in our own interest to make sure that Ukraine will win, will be victorious in regaining control over its own territory. You’re right, the brutal Russian aggression against Ukraine that we witness every day came as a shock to all of us, but it also provoked a very strong and united answer. A united answer that we continue to have to work for. It’s not for granted. And that’s why you are fully correct in asking how do we position ourselves, what we can expect to see in the shaping of our reaction. But again, as we are all convinced, and as we have realized, that as well our values and our freedom are at stake on the battlefield in Ukraine, I am very confident that we will continue to do whatever it takes and as long as it takes.

2024 will indeed have many interesting developments and elections coming up on the European level. But let’s, first of all, have a look at 2023 where I feel a lot of decisions will be made. This will be a decisive time ahead of us and that’s why it’s so important to continue to forge a strong answer.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Madam Ambassador, 2023 has begun with some important highlights. NATO and the EU have signed a new Joint Declaration for cooperation, stating that NATO is the cornerstone for Euro-Atlantic defense and security, while recognizing that the added value of the European defense, a concept promoted tirelessly by major EU countries, like France, a country that a year ago announced that it will also lead the NATO forward presence here in Romania. What does this Joint NATO-EU Statement mean for the European security architecture while also having in mind Russia’s war in Ukraine?

Laurence Auer: It is a very important statement because in this context of war, where we seek unity, solidarity, it is important to express this cooperation between NATO and the EU in concrete statements. We’ve been working during 2022 on what we call the Strategic Compass, a document which we worked on at the EU level and approved by European Council in March. In this view of the military and security challenges we identified the challenges such as civil and military cybersecurity. If you look at the question of satellites, drones, etc., we all know that the threats we face may be dealt by NATO, but also that we have to have global answers. And at the same time, the NATO Summit approved its Strategic Concept, with the recognition of the role of Eastern Europe, the role of the Black Sea in this new context, and I think it is very important that we liaise. There is no fights, there is only the necessity to be able to very quickly answer with a single answer towards the threats and also to the new neighborhood. I mean, the EU as launched in Prague, on the 7th of October 2022, the European Political Community which aims at being a political discussion with the members that are inside the EU but also outside. It’s quite also important in this geopolitical context that has so much changed in one year, that we have a quick answer, no questioning of who does what.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Mr. Ambassador, 2023 marks also important milestones such as the 30th anniversaries of the Maastricht Treaty and the Single Market or the 20th anniversary of the Nice Treaty, treaties and moments that prepared Europe for its further integration reconciling East and West. And last year, Chancellor Scholz said that the centre of gravity in Europe moves towards Eastern Europe, while speaking about the reform of the unanimity rule. Recently, the German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock deplored once again that EU countries are often not even able to draft a press release “because they cannot agree on the same wording”. She was referring, of course, to the veto power and the unanimity rule. Is there room for debate on this sensitive topic or given the opposition from other countries we can consider it as a safeguard for national interests in the EU?

Dr. Peer Gebauer: I strongly believe there’s room for debate and this debate is already going on because the vast majority of EU member states realizes that there is a reform need. Now, of course, for a smaller country being a member of the European Union should not go along with the fear of being overruled all the time, of being left out of the decision making process. There’s value that every voice is heard and every single member state has a very strong vote to give. It is important that this will remain an important pillar of our European decision making scheme. On the other hand, as you have pointed out in your question, there are more and more situations where we realize that the unanimity rule comes to its limits and we are just not able to act anymore. If we picture ourselves in a situation with even more member states, and we do want to push the enlargement agenda in that sense, the need for finding better ways of decision making is clearly there. There are various ways and instruments to address this. We can broaden the scope of majority voting in some areas without changing the treaties and I think this is something where the discussion is now mainly focused on. Then, of course, you can broaden the scheme even further by changing the treaties. This is always an uphill battle and certainly not something coming around in the next month. But there is a clear understanding that one country being able to block the rest is not an ideal situation. I think this understanding has broadened and that’s why I remain confident that we will see progress in the field of voting in the EU, in the months and years to come.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: The EU took a special major decision in 2023, and Germany and France, together with Romania, played important roles. One day before the European Commission announced its Opinion that Moldova and Ukraine should be granted candidate status for the EU, President Macron, Chancellor Scholz, President Iohannis and Prime Minister Draghi were in Kyiv, and one week later the European Council granted Ukraine and Moldova candidate status. For Moldova, France and Germany, together with Romania, did actually more by creating the Support Platform. What can France, Germany and Romania do even more for the Republic of Moldova? Is there a possibility to have a decision on opening chapters of negotiations?

Laurence Auer: We are very proud for France and Germany to be really the head of this movement with Romania. We are co-chairing the Support Platform. It was a third edition of the Moldova platform that took place in France, after it took place in Bucharest and in Berlin. The next one will be in Moldova, in Chișinău. And we are preparing the summit of the European Political Community there. We are proud as well of the political decision. It was not only granting this candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, it was also a starting point and we have a lot of work. Now, the work is under the responsibility of Moldova. They should prepare a list of state of reforms that are doing. It’s not small work as you know, it takes time. But it’s true that we are going to help the government. We are all ready to help. I’m also proud because at the same time we pushed the opening of the negotiation with Albania and North Macedonia. It was also important because if you take the enlargement topic as a whole, it was also a geopolitical response to what happens to Ukraine and to the recognition of what we want to be, what we want to do together. I must add as well that in December, we have also decided to grant the same status to Bosnia. So as a whole, Western Balkans and Moldova and Ukraine are not let aside. And I feel the responsibility of France and Germany on all cases were evident. And we of course are going to do the same for until Romania joins Schengen.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: The final question has a special sensitivity for Romania. We all hoped that from January 1st, 2023, Romania would have been part of the Schengen area. Our national efforts towards this goal were somehow fueled by the support that France and Germany publicly stated, because we recall the speech that former French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had in the Romanian Parliament and the speech of Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Prague. But Austria had a different opinion, and we received a veto instead. How can we overcome this deadlock this year? Will the support of Germany and France for Romania’s accession to Schengen remain undiminished and ironclad as it was last year?

Dr. Peer Gebauer: I can assure you that our support, and I’m sure I’m speaking here also on behalf of Laurence and on behalf of the French government, that our joint support for Schengen accession of Romania will remain steadfast and unwavering. We have been actively supporting enlargement of the Schengen area and we were also as disappointed as you were by the fact that we were not able to achieve this result at the last Justice and Home Affairs Council in December. I tell you why our support will remain as it is. It’s not only in the interest of Romania and of the Romanian people to become part of the Schengen family. It’s in our interest. It’s in the European interest. There is this geopolitical angle, Laurence has just touched upon it, with regard to EU enlargement. The same is true for Schengen enlargement. In times of crisis, it’s even more important to move closer together and to open up to one another. And this has a very practical relevance, for example, when it comes to our help flowing through Romania towards Ukraine or the other way around with regard to exports from Ukraine, which are facilitated through Romania. At some point in time we can hopefully put more emphasis on reconstruction in Ukraine. Again, it’s of utmost importance then to have open borders, to have a free flow of goods of support and of help. And that’s why it’s in our interest. And I will give you a second reason why it’s in our interest. Romania has proven itself to be always a very constructive partner of ours in the EU, in NATO, never blocking decisions, always being one of those countries that are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I think we need more “Romanias” in that endeavor in the EU. It’s just not fair not to grant Romania what it deserves and what it has right to get. Romania has fulfilled all the conditions for being a member and that’s why we have now to deliver. You’re asking if there is room for achieving this goal. I believe there is. The discussions are going on and, of course, there are several layers that are relevant to this aspect. Of course, for Austria, the issue of migration is an important one. We will have a special European Council meeting in February also focusing on migration issues. Let’s see how we can move things ahead there so that there will be a bridge to cross and a way to open the Schengen area also for Romania and Bulgaria.

Laurence Auer: I could not say differently. What I can only add is that with a lot of soldiers here, with materials and humanitarian aid transiting from Romania, we have this initiative which is called Solidarity Corridors where the grains of Ukraine is transiting Romania. It is very important that the fluidity of the borders and the circulation of goods can be eased through the Schengen accession. I’m sure this position is backed by our companies. France is the second investor in Romania. They are losing money every day by the absence of accession to Schengen. So you have our both business communities backing your objective. So, the sooner the better. And our two countries back unconditionally Romania towards the accession.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: I think these are very powerful statements coming at the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty as a sign of friendship to Romania. Thank you very much. Madame l’Ambassadrice, merci beaucoup pour cet entretien! Herr Botschafter, vielen Dank für dieses Gespräch! And Happy Anniversary for the French and German partnership!

Dr. Peer Gebauer: Thank you very much! Mulțumim!

Laurence Auer: Thanks a lot. And thanks for all that you do!


This Sunday’s Franco-German summit begins with a ceremony at Sorbonne University to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty between French leader Charles de Gaulle and German leader Konrad Adenauer on 22 January 1963, at which President Macron and Chancellor Scholz are due to give speeches.

The 23rd Franco-German Council of Ministers, which brings together the cabinets of both countries, takes place on Sunday afternoon and concludes with a joint declaration on the future of Europe. Later, the leaders of the two countries will dine together.

On 22 January 1963, President Charles de Gaulle and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed the “Treaty of Franco-German Cooperation”, better known as the Treaty of Élysée. It is the foundation of the close Franco-German friendship, which is also an important basis for the development of the European Union. With the Treaty of Aachen, which was signed by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron on 22 January 2019, the Élysée Treaty has been updated and set the course for the future to advance important topics such as digitalisation, education, climate and sustainable technologies.

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#YouthUP: Building a long-lasting legacy for the European Year of Youth – opinion article signed by MEP Victor Negrescu

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© Victor Negrescu/ Facebook

Opinion article signed by MEP Victor Negrescu

The European Year of Youth has ended. Young people have actively participated, showing their opinions about the European Union and proposing helpful solutions for young Europeans. More than 12.000 activities have been organized across Europe pointing out to the expectations of young people with regards to how we can build a Europe fit for the future. 

I am proud of all young Europeans, among whom young Romanians have been some of the most active in proposing solutions and generating events related to the European Year of Youth. The large participation of youth organizations and of young people was very visible during the consultations organized by the European Parliament Liaison Office in Bucharest and the engaging debate with President Roberta Metsola.

Therefore, after discussing with many youth organizations and young people across Europe, and also as Vice-chair of the Culture, Education, Youth, Media and Sports Committee, I strongly believe it is important to make sure that this European Year of Youth has ensured a legacy with tangible results for young people across Europe.

The European Parliament and many committed MEPs and Europeans actively engaged with young people during this period, listened to their opinions and offered them the opportunity to come up with interesting and constructive ideas. 

Their opinions, hopes and expectations have been heard. During these complicated times, it is important for the European Union, the European Parliament and other European institutions to show once more that they are capable of representing citizens’ interests with honesty and ambition.

Therefore, I have proposed a question for oral answer through which we are calling upon the European Commission to present to the European Parliament its assessment of the results of the European Year of Youth and asking for concrete measures as outcomes of the EYY.

Our initiative is just a first step in our #YouthUP campaign which is designed to strengthen the voice of young people in the European decision-making process. It will be followed by conferences, meetings with youth organizations and young people and an integrated legislative work designed to build a cross-sectorial approach to youth by integrating young people across EU policies.

We also expect the Commission to come up with solutions to the most salient  initiatives advanced by young people, including the youth test, unpaid internships or the political participation of young people. All these issues must be addressed accordingly by decision makers at European, national and local levels. While the youth test can offer us a perspective on the future, and include the voice of young people in policy-drafting, the banning of unpaid internships enables all people to be paid for their work, and offers a path out of poverty for many young people. Moreover, in order to ensure a long-lasting legacy for the European Year for Youth, we need to find better ways of including the voices of EU citizens in the decision-making process by building active, constructive and accessible formats of participation and interaction.

However, the most important thing is not to disappoint young people by not delivering on what was promised to them. Many hopes and expectations have been generated by the European Year of Youth as it was the case with the Conference on the Future of Europe, and EU leaders must understand that we need to do more to ensure both a positive perspective for the European Union in the future and also 2024 European elections without surprises in terms of political representation.

I am confident that young people across Europe will be up for the task. We must use the momentum generated by the European Year of Youth to give young people a stronger voice and to show that Europe truly cares about them.

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Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the Munich Security Conference: We tried to build a partnership with Russia, but Putin destroyed the common base. Romania is correct and NATO should focus more on the Black Sea region

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© MSC / Kuhlmann

Interview conducted by Robert Lupițu

Russia’s invasion in Ukraine is a turning point in history, including for Germany, who was tried to build a constructive partnership with Moscow over the last decades, argues Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, in an exclusive interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro on the sidelines of the Munich Leaders Meeting, organised for the first time on the southeastern flank of NATO, in Bucharest, just before the NATO Foreign Ministerial Meeting. The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference also emphasised that Romania is correct and NATO should focus more on the Black Sea region.

“I hoped that Putin would be impressed by the international solidarity with Ukraine and would have second thoughts about aggressing Ukraine”, he said, recollecting the strong EU and transatlantic unity at the Munich Security Conference, few days before Russia’s full scale invasion.

Former German Ambassador to the UN and ex-diplomatic advisor to Angela Merkel, Heusgen explained Germany’s longstanding approach to Russia and the stakes of the “Zeitenwende” (turning point) approach on foreign and security policy.

“Germany in World War II was responsible for the death of 20 million people who lived on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Also, without Russia giving its consent Germany would not have been reunited. So German policy towards Russia for a long time was influenced by a feeling of guilt and of gratitude. (…) We tried to build a partnership with Russia, but all of these efforts terribly failed. Putin destroyed the common base we had tried to build”, he said.

“Now, we have to be very tough in response to Russia’s war”, Heusgen added.

The Chairman of the Munich Security said that Russian President cannot be welcomed again in the community of respected politicians and emphasised that Putin is wrong when he is counting on Ukraine’s war fatigue or the fatigue of Western help.

“I believe that Germany and the transatlantic community will have to even strengthen their support to Ukraine. There is demand for political leadership which makes clear what is at stake: If Putin wins this war he will not stop in Ukraine”, he said, mentioning that the only possibility for peace talks is for Russia to return Ukraine’s territories.

Full interview below:

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Russia’s invasion was preceded a few days before by the Munich Security Conference. Did you felt at that moment, when President Zelenskyy took the stage, when Chancellor Scholz, Foreign Minister Baerbock, Vice President Harris or Prime Minister Johnson did the same, that Russia’s full scale military aggression is imminent, and diplomacy will be shadowed by war on the European continent? 

Christoph Heusgen: I had predicted already at the end of 2021 that Putin may wage war and invade Ukraine. The Intelligence Community was certain that Putin would actually do it. But when I witnessed the strong EU and transatlantic unity at the Munich Security Conference on 18 to 20 February 2022, and the readiness to give a common and tough response to a possible Russian attack, I hoped that Putin would be impressed by the international solidarity with Ukraine and would have second thoughts about aggressing Ukraine. But he didn’t and went ahead with his flagrant breach of International Law, his breach of civilization. 

CaleaEuropeană.ro: You mentioned the transatlantic unity and for many pundits Germany’s stance, including in the context of a brand-new coalition, was remarkable. The Zeitenwende speech, halting North Stream 2, economic and energy sanctions against Russia and stepping forward as a future military power in Europe. Is there a new German foreign and security policy in the making? What does it mean for Europe and for NATO? 

Christoph Heusgen: Chancellor Scholz in his speech to the German parliament three days after the invasion, pronounced a ‘Zeitenwende’. We are indeed witnessing  a turning point in history. For decades, Germany had tried to maintain a constructive partnership with Russia. To understand German policy towards Russia, one must go back in history. One has to remember that Germany in World War II was responsible for the death of 20 million people who lived on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Also, without Russia giving its consent Germany would not have been reunited. So German policy towards Russia for a long time was influenced by a feeling of guilt and of gratitude. Many in Germany hoped that we could conduct a policy where, on the one hand, we would be a good partner of NATO, but on the other hand maintain a decent relationship with Russia. The latter included a lot of trade, but also a broader dialogue between our societies through the so-called Petersburg dialogue, where an exchanges took place between the political and business class, non-governmental organizations and youth. We tried to build a partnership with Russia, but all of these efforts terribly failed. Putin destroyed the common base we had tried to build. Putin violated every international covenant and every bilateral agreement with Ukraine when he started his full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Putin has destroyed all bridges behind him. Now, we have to be very tough in response to Russia’s war. Some people in Germany have problems to adapt to the new reality to the ‚Zeitenwende‘.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: So, as I understand correctly, this will be a long-time stance of Germany and also of Europe when it comes to Russia?

Christoph Heusgen: As I said, Putin committed a breach of civilization. He severely violated international law. And we must respond to it in a very clear way, defending the rules based international order, also defending Ukraine. And we have to make Putin and his gang accountable for the crimes they committed,  war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. There is no way back for Putin into the community of respected, civilized politicians

CaleaEuropeană.ro: And we saw that Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine has brought major strategic changes in Europe – Sweden and Finland are almost NATO members, Ukraine and Moldova have received candidate status for the EU, France is more involved in NATO, especially in Romania, Germany’s Zeitenwende approach. But the war costs lives, threatens critical infrastructure, food security, energy prices soaring and so on. Do you envisage a war fatigue in matters of Western support for Ukraine or this “as long as it takes” approach will continue?

Christoph Heusgen: This is what Putin counts on. Putin counts on Ukraine fatigue, Putin counts on Europe and the US becoming weak, no longer ready to pay for defending Ukraine. Putin believes that at some stage we will either pressure Ukraine into a ceasefire and some kind of peace agreement to the liking of Russia. But Putin is wrong. This is what the Ukrainian representatives here at our Munich Leaders Meeting in Bucharest made very clear. The Ukrainians are determined to defend their country no matter what Putin does. He has already flattened Mariupol as he has flattened Grozny and Aleppo. But he cannot destroy the Ukrainian determination to defend their country. And I remain optimistic that Germany, the European Union, NATO and our transatlantic partners will remain at the side of the Ukrainian people despite higher food and energy prices, despite a possible recession. 

I believe that Germany and the transatlantic community will have to even strengthen their support to Ukraine. There is demand for political leadership which makes clear what is at stake: If Putin wins this war he will not stop in Ukraine. He has set his eyes on other countries which at some stage in history were parts of Russia, including Moldova or the Baltic countries. This means that when we are helping to defend Ukraine we are defending our own freedom.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: I understand from your very elaborated answer that given Ukraine’s stance to defend its country and given Russia’s destructive war in Ukraine we are far in reaching the conditions for political and peace talks?

Christoph Heusgen: Currently, I don’t see it. First, we have to respect what the Ukrainian people and government intend to do. I fully understand that the Ukrainians are not ready to give up their territory, to give in to a dictator who commits war crimes and crimes against humanity. I only see a possibility right now for negotiations if Russia is ready to give back the territory that according to international law belongs to Ukraine. Also, what is very important is that Russia pays reparation and that there is  accountability. At this stage, I don’t see that Russia is ready for it and therefore I’m also afraid that this conflict will continue.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Since the war began there has been a particular focus on the Black Sea security, a matter that Romania has advocated for since Crimea’s annexation. Foreign Minister Aurescu called for a to do transatlantic list for the importance of the Black Sea region. How can NATO focus better on this part of the Eastern flank, in the Black Sea, and what role Romania plays or should play in the region?

Christoph Heusgen: Aurescu is correct. Russia’s naval blockade has demonstrated how critical the Black Sea is. NATO has to focus more on the region. But NATO is turning already into this direction.  There will be more NATO troops stationed here. The fact that the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting took place in Bucharest is a demonstration that NATO is serious, but also a recognition of the role that Romania plays as a key partner in the Alliance. And I am certain that NATO is there to stay and will remain engaged. 

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Emmanuel Macron afirmă că va continua ”să discute cu Rusia”, în pofida criticilor, dar lansează un apel la adresa Chinei de a se pronunța împotriva ”războiului imperialist” din Ucraina

INTERNAȚIONAL14 hours ago

Ucraina are nevoie de o finanțare suplimentară de 17 miliarde de dolari pentru a repara infrastructura energetică avariată de atacurile rusești, anunță premierul Denys Shmyhal

NATO15 hours ago

Ungaria se alătură Cehiei și Poloniei în misiunile de protejare a spațiului aerian al Slovaciei

CONSILIUL UE16 hours ago

Consiliul JAI: Cătălin Predoiu a atras atenția că UE ”se confruntă cu o realitate criminologică generată de traficul de persoane şi de criminalitatea organizată”: Trebuie să oprim circuitul ororilor

NATO15 hours ago

Ungaria se alătură Cehiei și Poloniei în misiunile de protejare a spațiului aerian al Slovaciei

U.E.1 day ago

Ministrul de externe al Olandei: România a parcurs un drum extraordinar. Am spus că vom sprijini aderarea României la Schengen și ne menținem angajamentul luat

ROMÂNIA1 day ago

Premierul Nicolae Ciucă a discutat cu miniștrii de externe ai Franței și Olandei despre aderarea României la Schengen și sprijinirea R. Moldova

NATO2 days ago

Grupul de luptă NATO de la Cincu: Miniștrii de externe ai României, Olandei și Franței reafirmă solidaritatea și unitatea aliată pentru apărarea flancului estic

NATO2 days ago

Vizită istorică la NATO: Președintele Israelului s-a adresat în premieră aliaților reuniți în Consiliul Nord-Atlantic

ROMÂNIA2 days ago

Premierul Nicolae Ciucă: PIB-ul României a crescut cu 49 de miliarde de euro în 2022. Pentru acest an prognoza este una favorabilă, cu o creștere de 2,8%

PARLAMENTUL EUROPEAN3 days ago

Din Parlamentul European, președintele Israelului a îndemnat la comemorarea „alianței sacre făurite în paralel cu Holocaustul” pentru cinstirea supraviețuitorilor și combaterea antisemitismului

PARLAMENTUL EUROPEAN3 days ago

Roberta Metsola evidențiază responsabilitatea generației actuale de a menține vie memoria victimelor Holocaustului: Ura încă găsește multe voci care o disculpă. Nu putem permite nimănui să găsească alinare în ignoranță

INTERNAȚIONAL3 days ago

SUA aprobă trimiterea a 31 de tancuri Abrams în Ucraina. NATO afirmă că “împreună, tancurile americane, britanice și germane” pot face diferența în lupta împotriva Rusiei

NATO5 days ago

Secretarul general al NATO are încredere că decizia trimiterii de tancuri de luptă în Ucraina va veni în curând: Este un moment crucial al războiului

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