Von der Leyen at the Munich Forum: freedom, democracy, independence are at stake in this crisis
February 21, 2022

Von der Leyen at the Munich Forum: freedom, democracy, independence are at stake in this crisis

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on 19 February, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the events of these days could reshape the entire international system, as the world faces “the largest build-up of troops on European soil since the darkest days of the Cold War”. 

She recalled that last year Ukraine celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence and that a new generation of ‘children of democracy’ had grown up in the country. 

They are faced again with the prospect of conscription, to fight a war that they do not want, but that Moscow might impose on them. This is what the Kremlin’s policies mean in practice: to instill fear, and call it security; to deny 44 million Ukrainians from deciding freely about their own future; to deny a free country’s right to independence and self-determination. And the consequences of this approach matter well beyond Ukraine,” said von der Leyen.

According to the President, the Kremlin is not only trying to undermine the entire European security architecture, but also violates the UN Charter, where it states that countries “shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” 

She identified four areas in which the EU should act in the current situation: be ready to respond, increase Europe’s strategic independence on energy, support democracy in Ukraine, and keep the European Union and the transatlantic community fully aligned and united.

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