(Source: European Commission)
“Check against delivery”
Good afternoon and let me start by praising Minister Bek for skilfully chairing today’s General Affairs Council – stepping in today for the French Presidency, ahead of your own Presidency – team work at its best!
Three points from my side related to the preparation for the upcoming European Council next Monday and Tuesday.
First, our support to Ukraine:
If there is one issue where there is a need to move forward quickly, it is macro-financial assistance to cover Ukraine’s short-term needs. We hope that the European Council will be able to invite the Commission to borrow up to 9 billion euro on financial markets in order to help Ukraine cover its immediate needs.
The long-term reconstruction of Ukraine when the time comes: here, we hope that the European Council will task the Commission to develop a Ukraine reconstruction platform, co-led by the Commission and the Ukrainian government, in cooperation with our international partners. This would be closely linked with the necessary structural reforms that should help Ukraine advance on its European path.
Second, on defence:
The Commission has put a number of proposals on the table to help Member States use their increasing defence expenditure in the best way possible. I want to mention just one, and the most urgent.
Member States have transferred huge amount of equipment to Ukraine. The Commission has proposed to create a platform, with the High Representative and the European Defence Agency, so that Member States can coordinate their purchases to replenish their stocks and upgrade technologies where they are based on old Russian technology. This coordination would help us avoid a situation where Member States are out-bidding one another for scarce resources. We hope that the European Council will invite us start this work as soon as possible.
Third, on our RepowerEU proposal:
This is a very comprehensive package to help us accelerate our diversification from Russia fossil fuels. This will require a lot of work on the ground in the months to come. Here we hope the European Council will reaffirm this political signal and invite us all to work as quickly as possible on taking the proposals forward.