Ursula von der Leyen presenting the State of the Union: Putin will fail, and Ukraine and Europe will prevail
September 14, 2022

Ursula von der Leyen presenting the State of the Union: Putin will fail, and Ukraine and Europe will prevail


“Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine will remain unshakeable,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament today. Presenting the State of the Union (SOTEU), Ursula von der Leyen, dressed in a blue and yellow suit, began with words of support for Ukraine and what the EU has done to support it since the start of the Russian aggression on 24 February. 

She also announced that she would travel to Kyiv today to discuss with President Zelenskyy a number of important EU support measures.

Today courage has a name. And that name is Ukraine,” said Ursula von der Leyen. She noted that the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, had been invited as a guest of honour to the meeting.

Von der Leyen announced that she would work with the First Lady to support the rehabilitation of damaged Ukrainian schools. She said the EU would allocate up to €100 million for this purpose, “because the future of Ukraine begins in its schools”.

The President also announced the European Commission would work with Ukraine to ensure seamless access to the European Single Market to help accelerate growth in Ukraine and create opportunities.

In March, we successfully connected Ukraine to our electricity grid. It was initially planned for 2024. But we did it within two weeks. And today, Ukraine is exporting electricity to us. I want to significantly expand this mutually beneficial trade,” said Von der Leyen. “We have already suspended import duties on Ukrainian exports to the EU. Our solidarity lanes are a big success.

In addition, the EU will bring Ukraine into the European free roaming area, Ursula von der Leyen promised.

She added that the EU would also continue to support Ukraine through the tough sanctions imposed on Russia – “the toughest sanctions the world has ever seen”. The President especially stressed that “the sanctions are here to stay

This is the time for us to show resolve, not appeasement,” said von der Leyen, adding: “Putin will fail, and Ukraine and Europe will prevail.”

As a result of sanctions, she said, Russia’s financial sector is on life-support, nearly one thousand international companies have left the country, the production of cars fell by three-quarters compared to last year, and Aeroflot is grounding planes because there are no more spare parts. “The Russian military is taking chips from dishwashers and refrigerators to fix their military hardware, because they ran out of semiconductors. Russia’s industry is in tatters,” said von der Leyen. 

On EU enlargement, Ursula von der Leyen addressed the people of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Western Balkans, saying the EU should deepen its ties and strengthen democracies on the European continent, starting with those countries that are already on the path to the EU: “You are part of our family, your future is in our Union, and our Union is not complete without you.” 

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