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The European Union has officially welcomed Ukraine’s application for membership, with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola saying the EU will work with Ukraine to that end.
“We have to face the future together,” Metsola said.
“The message from Europe is clear: we will stand up. We will not look the other way when those fighting in the streets for our values confront Putin’s enormous war machine,” said Metsola, a Maltese politician elected Speaker of Parliament in January. .
Metsola spoke at the start of a special plenary session on Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Addressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who received a standing ovation when he appeared later via video link – the Speaker of Parliament expressed her gratitude.
“Mr. President, thank you for showing the world what it means to stand up,” she said.
Metsola pointed to several examples of bravery and resilience demonstrated by Ukrainians.
“They showed the world that our way of life is worth fighting for. It’s worth a cost.” She added: “For us, for the next generation, for everyone in Ukraine and around the world who believes in Europe and in our way. For everyone who wants to be free.”
“This must be our ‘no matter what’ moment,” she said, noting the sanctions the EU has enacted, as well as the steps taken by Ukraine’s neighbors to help those who flee violence.
Metsola also applauded European countries sending arms and aid to Ukraine, as well as efforts to disengage from Russian oligarchs and propaganda.
Looking to the future, Metsola has set four goals for the EU:
- Europe must stop depending on “Kremlin gas”.
- The Russian oligarchs can no longer “hide behind a veneer of respectability”.
- Europe must invest more in its own defense and security.
- The EU “must fight the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign”.
Distinguishing social media and big tech companies, Metsola said they should take their responsibilities seriously, adding that it is untenable to insist on neutrality when the choice is “between fire and firefighters”. .