EU leaders meet at informal meeting at Versailles
Leaders from EU countries will be meeting at Versailles later today (10 March) as part of an emergency meeting of the European Council. The meeting will be chaired by Charles Michel and leaders are due to discuss the ongoing war in Ukraine.
One of the biggest topics of conversation is expected to be Ukraine’s candidate status. According to a Council official, some heads of state are in favor of making Ukraine an EU candidate country. However there is not total agreement among heads of government. This meeting might be when the European Council takes an official position on Ukraine’s status.
“In response to Russia’s aggression, the European Union has shown unity and strength,” European Council President Charles Michel wrote in his invitation letter to heads of state. “We have imposed on Russia the strictest sanctions ever adopted. The European Union and its member states are providing coordinated humanitarian, political, financial and material support to Ukraine. Member states are also showing immense solidarity in hosting countless people fleeing the war.”
One of the first meetings arranged with the heads of state is an exchange of views with Roberta Metsola, who publicly announced her support for Ukraine’s application for candidacy status at the emergency plenary session last week.
“We recognize Ukraine’s European perspective,” Metsola said to the Parliament and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. “And as our resolution clearly states, we welcome, Mister President [Zelenskyy], Ukraine’s application for candidate status and we will work towards that goal.”
Heads of state are also expected to discuss further sanctions against both Russian and Belarusian banks and oligarchs who assisted in the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s army.
Other topics for today include energy and defense as they relate to the Ukrainian crisis. Several EU officials have declared the EU’s reliance on Russian gas and oil unacceptable over the last few days. Heads of state are expected to discuss how to reduce Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and also mitigate the increase of gas prices.