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'If we want peace, we must prepare for war': Charles Michel

Political

President of the European Council Charles Michel said in an article on Monday that Europe must strenghthen its defences in shift to a “war economy” mode in the face of the war in Ukraine.

In the article “If we want peace, we must prepare for war”, published in Euractive on the eve of the EU leaders meeting in Brussels he recalled the telephone conversation with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at 3:30 in the morning of February 24, 2022.

“Hearing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s grave voice over the phone say “Bombs are falling on us, it’s a full invasion,” I knew at that moment the entire post-World War II security arrangement had changed forever. The EU also has to change fast with it,” he writes.

According to the European Council President, two years on from the start of the war, it is now “clear that Russia will not stop in Ukraine, just as it did not stop in Crimea ten years ago.”

“Russia continues its destabilising tactics — in Moldova, Georgia, the South Caucasus, the Western Balkans and even further afield on the African continent,” Michel writes.

He also emphasizes that Europe could “be next”.

“Russia is a serious military threat to our European continent and global security. If we do not get the EU’s response right and do not give Ukraine enough support to stop Russia, we are next,” he adds.

The European Council President suggests shifting to a ‘war economy’ mode. 

“It’s time to take responsibility for our security. We can no longer count on others or be at the mercy of election cycles in the US or elsewhere,” he writes.

He calls on countries to enable investments in defense, including by considering adapting the EU lending policy, expanding the European Investment Bank’s mandate, to allow it to support the continent's defense industry.

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