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Ukraine and EU leaders sign a security agreement


 

On Thursday, leaders of the European Union and Ukraine signed a security pact, opening a two-day summit during which they will also choose the individuals who will oversee the EU’s major institutions and determine the strategic direction of the organisation for the next five years.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was making a rare in-person appearance in Brussels for the signing ceremony, was cordially welcomed by the leaders of the 27 EU member states at their first official meeting since the June 6–9 European elections.

The security agreement highlights the European Union’s support for Kyiv in fending off Moscow’s invasion for a third year, despite far-right victories in European elections, uncertainties resulting from early elections in France, and the US presidential election in November.

The leaders will once again support Ukraine, no matter what, according to the summit’s draft conclusions, which emphasise that “Russia must not prevail” and that Ukraine must reclaim the territory that Moscow has annexed.

They will also request that EU institutions iron out the specifics of a G7 agreement to lend Ukraine 50 billion euros, with the loans being repaid with earnings from Russian central bank assets that were embargoed in the West following Moscow’s invasion.

As the EU strives to provide Kyiv with enough weapons to defeat Russia, the war in Ukraine exposed the bloc’s lack of readiness for war, leading to demands for increased EU defence system cooperation and defence industry investment.

“We have had been under-investing in our defence and now we have to recover the time that we have lost,” EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said on arrival at the summit. “And we have to do a big financial push to increase our defence capabilities. This is not going to be easy.”

On Wednesday, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia demanded that the EU erect a defence wall around its borders with Belarus and Russia in order to shield the EU from military threats and other adverse activities coming from Moscow.

“We are talking about external European borders,” Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.

“We are talking about a threat to all of the EU and the political West. I am pretty sure that today all our partners in the EU understand much better than ever before that common European responsibility for our security is something absolutely needed today,” he said.

The EU “strategic agenda,” which aims to be agreed upon by the leaders at the summit, includes investments in defence. It tells EU institutions what European governments want them to concentrate on during their 2024–2029 mandate.

In addition to defence, the proposed strategic agenda asks for the EU to become more competitive in order to fend off economic pressure from China and the US and to get ready for the bloc’s potential enlargement to encompass the Western Balkans, Ukraine, and Moldova.

The goal is to assist in creating a work schedule for the incoming European Commission head, who is scheduled to begin in October. Ursula von der Leyen is anticipated to be nominated by the 27 national leaders for a second term as president of the European Commission.

Three centrist political organisations that support the EU came to an agreement that included the appointment of Portuguese ex-premier Antonio Costa to lead the Europ
ean Council of EU leaders and Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, to lead foreign policy.

The center-right, center-left, and liberal factions possess the requisite majority to ratify the plan during the summit. However, given that the agreement has been criticised by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, there may still be some opposition.

(Source: Reuters)


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