“Europe must prepare for all scenarios.” This is what French President Emmanuel Macron said “worried” and “pessimistic” on Thursday before an informal summit with European heads of state or government in Versailles.
GVsource† BELGA, Special Reports
Macron spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz again earlier today with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the invasion of Ukraine. “There will be no solution in the coming hours or days,” Macron said. In his words, Russian conditions are “unacceptable”, but the president keeps lines open with the Kremlin. We will speak with Putin again in the next few hours.”
Macron described the Russian bombing of a maternity center in Mariupol as an “unworthy and immoral act of war”. “This is not an act of war aimed at neutralizing military bases or capabilities, but an act of war with the clear objective of killing civilians,” Macron said.
According to the French president, the war in Ukraine is a “human, political and humanitarian tragedy”, but it will lead to a “complete redefinition of the structure of Europe”. There are strategic and historical discussions. This will lead to historic decisions for Europe in the coming weeks and months.”
The war reinforces Macron’s view that Europe must become more sovereign and independent on the world stage. “We need independence from Russian gas, to become independent to ensure our defense, to become independent in terms of market supplies.” “Europe has changed during the Corona pandemic and will change faster in this war,” he says.
The question is how quickly Europe can decouple from Russian gas. Latvian President Krisjanis Karenz called for an immediate halt to imports upon his arrival, but Schultz immediately put the brakes on. “We need to make sure that the impact on us in Europe is kept to a minimum,” the chancellor said.
Germany is also not in favor of a new fund, where the European Union, as with the 800 billion euro Corona recovery plan, is borrowing money from capital markets to help member states absorb the economic shocks of the war. France is promoting the idea, and Italy is also giving a lot of support. Prime Minister Mario Draghi emphasized that “Italy and France are absolutely identical”.