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Roberta Metsola at the start of the summit © European Union 2022_

Metsola: Granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova will strengthen EU

Granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova would not only strengthen the two countries, but also the EU, Roberta Metsola told EU leaders.

The President of the European Parliament was speaking at the start of an EU summit on 23 June to discuss Russia’s war against Ukraine as well as EU membership applications from Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

“I know there are no easy answers or easy decisions, rest assured that there are wrong ones, that we must avoid,” said Metsola. “And it would be a historically wrong decision not to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova today, or give a clear perspective to Georgia.”

She added: “We should be clear this is not simply some symbolic act, this will strengthen the EU and it will strengthen Ukraine and Moldova. It will show our people, as well as theirs, that our values matter more than rhetoric. That hope can mean results. And other countries waiting – those in the Western Balkans – also need to see hope lead to results. It is time.”

Referring to the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Parliament’s President said: “We have to acknowledge that inflation-fuelled fatigue is setting in, that we are seeing many cases where the resilience of our citizens to the social and economic impact is waning and we need to push back harder. We need to counter the Kremlin’s narrative not feed into the fears it spreads.”

Metsola also said the current situation should not be a reason to backslide on the EU’s climate goals. “It is about security as well as the environment. So my appeal is to ensure that immediate, short-term measures do not become the new normal in the medium-term.”

A ”steady, clear and united approach” will be needed to tackle rising costs and inflation, said the President. She said it would be wrong to dismiss concerns regarding prices as in many countries the peak had not yet been reached.

Aid for Ukraine needed to be sped up while sanctions against Russia needed to be advanced, she said. The EU should also help Ukraine to export its agricultural products.

In closing, Metsola addressed the future of the EU and said a convention to revise the EU treaties was needed to increase the Union’s capacity to act in vital areas: “We must be ready to look at how we operate and see where we can do better. “