President Pavel to European Parliament: Ukraine’s security is our security
In an address to the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday President Pavel expressed confidence that Europe would emerge triumphant from the present crisis. He said Europe’s strength is in unity and diversity and urged Europeans to stick together and not to fall prey to mounting Russian disinformation.
President Petr Pavel stepped before the European Parliament as the first Czech head of state to address the assembly in 10 years. He said he had deep trust in the ability of Europe to tackle this crisis and emerge victorious. He said that Europe’s actions today would shape history and the continent must stay united in the war for its future safety and prosperity.
“Ukraine’s security is our own security. With several crises unfolding because of Russia’s expansionism and unsatisfied imperial ambitions, every European citizen has felt the consequences in higher energy bills and rising food prices. Unfortunately, there is even more at stake – our freedom. I therefore call on everyone to continue providing support by all possible means. If Ukraine fails, so will we. And this failure would cost us even more.”
The Czech head of state warned against mounting Russian disinformation campaigns, saying they presented a serious threat to EU unity, which is crucial to winning the war. He warned Europe against repeating the mistakes of the past in thinking that a policy of appeasement could lead to peace. Peace, he said, must come on Ukraine’s terms.
“Let us not be fooled by those who claim that in the name of appeasing Putin, peace should be achieved by offering concessions which undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In reality, what they are asking for is for Ukraine to surrender, and for us to resign on our own principles. This is a grave affront to those suffering from Russian occupation, people who have been stripped of their civil rights, who suffer constant abuse and whose children were abducted by Russia. Eighty-five years ago, Czechoslovakia was in a similar situation. To avoid war, some European statesmen hoped that ceding vast swathes of Czechoslovak territory to Hitler would satisfy the dictator and result in a peaceful resolution of the conflict. This hope did not materialize. Peace can never be achieved on the aggressor’s terms.”
Mr. Pavel said that the European elections would be a major test of Europe’s resilience to disinformation and urged national governments to communicate the importance of upholding Europe’s democratic values and principles in building a safe and prosperous future for all.
“Europe is an everlasting task and European nations are meant to live together. My country understands that being a part of Europe goes hand-in-hand with responsibility. So far, the story of Europe after the Second World War has been a story of success. Therefore, to remain competitive on the global stage, and to be able to continue telling the story to future generations, I encourage all of us to resist the war fatigue. I encourage all of us to cooperate in unity and solidarity. I encourage all of us to stand for our European values and principles. I encourage all of us to not fall for false promises and populism.”