The European Union surprised the world, and even itself, with the speed, scale and unity of its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This “new” Europe is ready to project both soft and hard power on the world stage, European leaders told participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022.
According to the WEF news release, President of European Central Bank Christine Lagarde said the Ukraine war has revealed how powerful Europe is collectively: “This is a new dawn for Europe.”
Speaking at the session on the title: European Unity in a Disordered World? Lagarde said the war on Ukraine has also revealed weaknesses including global supply chain vulnerabilities and over-reliance on Russian energy.
“But Europe is addressing this and can begin to flex its muscles on the global stage. Europe has untapped purchasing power, trading power, technology power, pension power and moral power,” she added.
President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola lauded, “This is Europe’s moment. Europe can become the global project for peace.”
She further said, “Mistakes of the past will be rectified. For way too long we did not seriously consider an energy union where we can rely on each other rather than on a country that can switch us off at any time.”
Likewise, Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger informed that, “If Ukraine falls to Russian aggression, Slovakia is next.” “Thus, we must continue to provide military support as well as step up humanitarian aid. Above all we need to give Ukrainians hope,” emphasized Slovakian PM.
Micheál Martin, Taoiseach of Ireland, said of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “The people of Europe have spoken. Enough is enough.” In response there is much stronger unanimity between member states and more support than ever to accept the accession of new members.
“We see the EU’s future in terms of the green economy and in terms of digitalization but also in terms of enlargement,” he added.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte called on European member states to continue to raise their defence spending.
“The NATO alliance members are inseparable, but Europe must play its part,” he said adding “This will help transform Europe from a soft power to a hard power.”