In a speech to a mass gathering of European Union Ambassadors, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made an appeal for the bloc to be “more engaged” in global affairs, citing the need for more civilian aid in Gaza and supporting Ukrainian entry into the EU.
During her speech at the annual EU Ambassadors meeting in Brussels on 6th November, EC President Ursula von der Leyen called for the bloc to face current affairs head on, touching on three main areas: China, the Middle East and the Ukraine.
“The people of Ukraine are longing to join the European Union,” she said. “They believe in Europe. They trust Europe more than ever before. This is certainly because an entire continent – the European Union – has mobilised in support of Ukraine.”
Von der Leyen revealed a plan to soon hold a ‘Ukraine Peace Summit’ with the aim of finding solutions that could end the conflict with Russia, as well as enact long-term security in the Ukraine via military and technological support, and to achieve EU membership for Ukraine.
PALESTINE AND ISRAEL
Standing in solidarity with Israel, the EC President called for the immediate release of the hostages being held by the terrorist group of Hamas, whom she described as “pure evil”.
Her harsh words against them did not extend to the Palestinian people, however, and she decried their plight and the mounting deaths of civilians in Gaza.
“Supporting Israel is essential,” she said. “Aiding civilians in Gaza is essential, too. The humanitarian situation is dire. The death toll and the suffering of Palestinian civilians is tragic. And as policymakers, we face a dreadful dilemma. Israel has the right to defend itself while Hamas bunkers, hides fighters and stores weapons below refugee camps and civilian infrastructure… It is also essential that [Israel] strives to avoid civilian casualties, and to be as targeted as possible.”
To these ends, she announced that humanitarian aid to Gaza will be increased by €25 million to ensure urgently needed food and medical supplies reach those trapped in Gaza. This boost takes the total financial aid package for Gaza since this latest conflict began to €100 million.
China was also covered in her speech, with von der Leyen saying that the EU will continue to work with Chinese officials and the government via “functioning channels of communication and high-level diplomacy” in order to “get China right”.
“Our rivalry can be constructive, not hostile”, President von der Leyen said, adding that China also needed to respect the global rules-based system. “There is room to define together common rules and solutions to challenges we all share.”
President von der Leyen’s full speech can be read here.
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Photo credit: European Commission, Facebook