Since the Berlin Wall fell, more than 30 years ago, we have witnessed many remarkable political and socio-economic achievements on the global stage – from economic growth and improved education to people living longer, healthier lives. The European Union integration process has greatly contributed to achieving peace and stability, prosperity and multilateralism.
However, we still face an uphill battle when it comes to achieving an inclusive and sustainable multilateral world. The acceleration of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war against Ukraine – these are just the latest challenges to building a world underpinned by international solidarity.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a shock, and its global impact cannot be underestimated. This war has unleashed a chain of political, security, economic and social destabilisation across the world. It is a direct attack on all that we hold dear – the rules-based international order, peace and stability, food security and sustainable global development.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has opened a new chapter in European history, and we in Europe are on the frontlines of the international response. Since day one, we have reacted with steadfast unity within the 27 EU countries and with our G7 partners. And in unity with Ukraine. We have supported Ukraine with economic, financial, humanitarian, political and military support. This helped Ukraine resist and avoid immediate collapse.
And we will help Ukraine to rebuild. The 27 EU leaders agreed to launch a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund as a concrete expression of our commitment to Ukraine and its European path. The cornerstone of this Trust Fund is precisely the idea of ‘trust’. We trust in a modern, prosperous, forward-looking and democratic Ukraine. We will stand by all Ukrainians to help them rebuild their country, their economy, and their free and democratic institutions by combining reconstruction funding with the necessary reforms. To this end, we must coordinate international initiatives – from the G7, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction, European Investment Bank and others.
Stopping Russia’s war machine
But supporting Ukraine is not enough. We must also stop Russia’s war machine. We are therefore taking unprecedented and coordinated measures to severely curb Russia’s ability to finance its war. We will continue to put pressure on Russia to end the war as soon as possible.
This war has also spilled beyond the borders of Ukraine with devastating effects for the rest of the world – from food security and energy supply to global supply chains. Russia is using food as a silent weapon of war, blockading seaports and turning farmlands into battlefields. Disruption in food supplies comes as the world is already struggling with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Food Programme warns that more than 170 million people could experience acute food insecurity. The international community must urgently work together to protect the most vulnerable from hunger and famine.
The EU will continue to work with our G7 and international partners to keep trade in agricultural commodities open and to ensure global market transparency. The G7 Global Alliance for Food Security will play an important role along with the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative, especially for developing countries.
The gravity of recent events has focused minds on the essential: protecting our health, our planet, our freedoms and our human dignity. As G7 members, along with other leading multilateral institutions, we have a collective responsibility to respond to these events in a spirit of solidarity. Liberal democracies must engage more effectively with the rest of the world. We must engage with our partners in a way that shows the value of our cooperation by taking care of others.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is a moment of urgency – a moment of truth – for Europe and the world. Let’s unleash a tide of solidarity for the people of Ukraine and for the well-being of all citizens around the world.