We gather for a special meeting of the European Council on 30-31 May to take forward our discussions on Ukraine, energy, food security, and defence.
Ukraine is showing incredible courage and dignity in the face of the Russian aggression and atrocities. From the very first day, we have been unwavering in our humanitarian, financial, military and political support to the Ukrainian people and their leadership. We will continue putting pressure on Russia. Our unity has always been our strongest asset. It remains our guiding principle.
We will address the situation in Ukraine at our first working session, and President Zelenskyy will join us via video link at the beginning of this discussion. One of our most pressing concerns is assisting the Ukrainian state, along with our international partners, with its liquidity needs. We will also discuss how best to organise our support for Ukraine’s reconstruction, as a major global effort will be required to rebuild the country.
We will come back to the issue of energy including high prices, which are hitting hard on our homes and businesses. We must accelerate our energy transition if we are to phase out our dependency on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible. Building on our decisions taken in Versailles, we will discuss the best ways to take work forward.
Russia’s military aggression risks having a dramatic effect on global food security. Food prices have spiked and we are facing serious risks of famine and destabilisation in many parts of the world. At our meeting, we will discuss concrete ways to help Ukraine export its agricultural produce using EU infrastructure. We will also see how to better coordinate multilateral initiatives in this regard. Given African countries’ acute vulnerability to food insecurity, African Union Chairperson Macky Sall will join us via video link to discuss the topic.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has further bolstered our ambition for a strong, coordinated European defence. In March, we tasked the Commission, in coordination with the European Defence Agency, with putting forward an analysis of the defence investment gaps and proposing any further initiatives to strengthen the European defence industrial and technological base. Our most urgent priority is to coordinate Member States’ efforts to replenish stocks and build a European industrial base. We will discuss how to address these two issues.
In terms of timing, our meeting will start on Monday at 4 p.m. with the traditional exchange of views with European Parliament President, Roberta Metsola.
I look forward to seeing you in Brussels.