Dramatic turning point for Europe
Following talks with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasised the European Union’s joint response to the Russian attack on Ukraine. “We agreed on extremely tough sanctions,” Scholz said.
“The bloodshed must end”
The measures would have the effect of cutting Russia off from the international financial markets and excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT system, said Scholz. The Russian Central Bank was now also subject to massive restrictions, he added, while harsh sanctions had been imposed on Vladimir Putin himself and his closest entourage.
Once again, the Federal Chancellor called on the Russian President to immediately cease all hostilities, withdraw Russian troops to Russia and return to dialogue: “The bloodshed must come to an end,” Scholz demanded.
Side by side with Ukraine
At the same time, the Federal Chancellor stressed that Germany stood firmly side by side with Ukraine in a situation that threatened the Ukrainian people and democracy. “We will continue to support them in defending themselves against this unjustified assault,” said Scholz. “Germany has also decided to provide support in the form of military equipment for this purpose. What is more, we will continue to provide humanitarian aid, protection equipment and medical supplies to the country.”
Federal Chancellor Scholz agreed with Prime Minister Bettel that the informal European Council meeting next week in Versailles would also address the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At their meeting on 10 – 11 March, EU leaders will also be discussing investment as a requirement for a successful green transformation and future competitiveness. Federal Chancellor Scholz stressed that the EU urgently needed to reduced its dependence on energy imports.
Bettel and Scholz also touched on other European policy issues such as how Germany and Luxembourg can advance the European Commission’s climate policy agenda.