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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Zelenskyy: 100K Evacuated via Corridors in last 48 Hours; Macron: We have Responded with Unity and Rapidity; Macron: We have a Plan to Reduce our Dependence on Russian Energy; Von Der Leyen: What Happened at Hospital in Mariupol is "Atrocious"; EU Leaders Meet in Versailles amid Ukraine Crisis. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 11, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: Emmanuel Macron was speaking in a Summit in Versailles. EU Leaders are discussing their response to the war,
energy policy and booming oil prices. We're expecting them to speak to the media later this hour and we will take you to that when it begins.
In the meantime, the Vice President of the United States is in Romania amid a growing refugee crisis. Russian strikes in Western Ukraine concepts
ground forces close to Kyiv regroup satellite images taken on Thursday show that a Russian convoy advancing on the Capital has disbanded. It's now
repositioning northwest of the city.
Scott McLean joins us from Lviv in the West of the country. Scott, what more do we know about the repositioning of those forces?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Julia. Yes well, if you ask British intelligence, they say that the repositioning could be a sign that Russia
has not made very much progress on the ground and now they're trying to regroup for a potential new assault on the city.
We know that there has been heavy fighting, especially on the outskirts of Kyiv. New Satellite images show the damage that's been done already,
largely because of shelling and airstrikes, places like - where there have been absolutely horrifying pictures coming from that area where apartment
buildings have been targeted.
Satellite images show a supermarket has been destroyed there as well - another one of these areas where apartment complexes had been absolutely
flattened. Now in this country, there is also fresh concern about a chemical weapon attack or a biological weapon attack.
This is according to the United States. And this all stems Julia from the Russian Foreign Minister who made some comments yesterday without evidence
claiming that the United States was trying to be trying to make biological or chemical weapons in Ukraine, something that the U.S. has strongly
Now the Ukrainian say that look, the Ukrainian President said yesterday he's worried about chemical attacks coming from Russia now because as in
his words, if you want to know what Russia is going to do next, just watch what they accuse others of and.
Also Julia a new another concern today that Russian airstrikes are starting to move to the West places like Dnipro in South Central Ukraine taking
fresh strikes in civilian areas. Also, the City of Lutsk which is, just a few hours from where I am in Lviv, near the Belarusian border, which has
not had any, strikes thus far.
And another city in the South Ivano-Frankivsk, which has only been hit once before and that was on the very first day of the war. In both those cases,
it was airport infrastructure that was actually hit. But the potential worry here, Julia is that many people inside Ukraine have taken refuge in
these cities, especially Ivano-Frankivsk because perhaps they don't have friends.
They don't have family outside of the country. And so they've gone there thinking that it's safe for the time being. But if people start fleeing
that place, you may have big problems. The UNHCR has warned previously that the next wave of refugees may not be nearly as well resourced may not have
- may not have nearly the connections outside of the country that the first wave has had and thus, maybe much more vulnerable.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And it just puts more pressure on cities like where you are in Lviv, of course, that the border areas that we've already seen in
places like Poland, and Moldova, of course as well. Crucial to this, of course, is the humanitarian corridors and you and I were discussing the
challenges of protecting people in some of those across the country yesterday.
The President - President Zelensky saying today they've opened up 12 new humanitarian corridors, how well are they managing to achieve that and
obviously protect those from fire as well?
MCLEAN: It's a really mixed bag. Zelenskyy says that 100,000 people over the last 48 hours have been able to escape through these corridors. But of
course, it is very difficult to verify numbers that is that high. So it's really unclear.
We know that there has been some success through some of these corridors. Sumy for instance, has had some success - another place which were actually
earlier this week, a hospital building was hit by a military strike has also had some success, according to the Ukrainians of 20,000 people have
been able to get out there.
But the big concern is still places like Volnovokha and Mariupol, obviously, which is nearby, which is almost nearly entirely cut off from
the rest of the country. And so the Russians have announced that they have unilaterally opening some humanitarian corridors many of those routes
though lead to Russia.
The Ukrainians also seemed to be unilaterally announcing humanitarian corridors out but it doesn't seem like the two countries are on the same
page. In Mariupol for instance, the only quarter that the Russians have offered goes to Russia. The Ukrainians are trying to open one that would go
further into Ukraine.
Yesterday the president sending a convoy of aid sending buses to go and pick people up. But it is not clear it does not appear that that aid ever
arrived because as the Mayor says the Russians continue to bomb infrastructure particularly the road infrastructure so that the city will
be completely cut off.
MCLEAN: So the Russians are proposing according to state media that there be some kind of coordination line between the two countries to make sure
everyone's on the same page. But it is remarkable that we're this far into these efforts to get these humanitarian corridors open.
And the fact that the parties don't already have this line of communication set up does not bode well for the likelihood of success Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it speaks volumes. Scott McLean, thank you so much for that. EU leaders meanwhile, meeting in Versailles to coordinate their
response to the crisis, but a swift admission to the EU for Ukraine seems to be off the table. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying he would reject a
fast track approaches.
CNN's Melissa Bell has been following this for us Melissa disappointment all around I think we've had Emmanuel Macron lowering expectations for some
kind of diplomatic resolution in the coming days and the disappointment too for Ukraine in terms of a swift access to the EU too.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ukraine had officially asked for candidate status at the end of February Julia - the process be fast
track. Now Europe as ever, on so many of these questions is quite divided on the issue.
There are those leading the charge for the usual process, which can take many months many years to apply for accession even before you become a
candidate country. And then it can take many months for many years. It is a long and tedious process.
Those leading the charge for that to be left in place the Dutch for instance, and others, the Baltic States in particular, really arguing that
there should be a fast track solution if one can be found. In the end the statement that they come out - came out with in the middle of the night
Julia was that essentially, Europe believes that Ukraine belongs within the European family, that they will be going as quickly as they can that the
accession process will no doubt realistically take several years.
But that they want to send other signals to Kyiv about the fact they believe that Ukraine Julia belongs very much in European fault. So in
Versailles Palace, just behind me the - Versailles intact is of course pouring with rain today.
But in that Palace - you know, are gathered to try and discuss some of those moves that they could have. They could make some of those signals
they might send to Kyiv to try and show that as long as the war is there is lasting, they are there for it.
In fact, one of the issues on the table is you'll remember that the weekend something quite remarkable happened 500 million euros announced from Europe
to help Ukraine's army. It is the first time that European defense has come together in such a concrete way--
CHATTERLEY: Emmanuel Macron has just stepped up to the podium and I am going to let you listen to what they have to say the Council President
CHARLES MICHEL, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Good afternoon! Obviously, I'd like to begin by thanking the French President for his hospitality in this
magnificent setting, which is full of history. And it's also made it possible for us to work with the view to the future, particularly the
future of Europe at a moment which is a difficult one because we are facing a war on the Continent of Europe.
The Versailles declaration has been formally approved a few moments ago, and it will remain in the - of the European projects. And there's a reason
for this. For some time now, we have understood that it is essential to embark upon an agenda of sovereignty of strategic autonomy for the European
Union to be seen, reflected in its ambition to take into consideration the strengths the advantages, what brings Europeans together, but also take a
look at the fragilities that exist are going to try to correct and strengthen.
This meeting at Versailles comes at a moment when just two weeks ago, Russia embarked on a war against Ukraine. And for two weeks now, the
European Union has demonstrated how strong it is? How solid it is? How united it is? We've been able to come together to decide in favor of
unprecedented sanctions, which have --.
We're there to support in every way possible financially in humanitarian terms, the men and women of Ukraine. We have a European ambition, which is
one of peace will be mobilizing equipment, including military equipment, and some 500 million euros additionally has been added to the peace
So we're there to support Ukraine. We've also been discussing the application by Ukraine as it was by Georgia and Moldova. And we wanted to
make our point clear to our Ukrainian friends who of course are full members of the European family and we want to say to them that we will do
stand by them and mobilize very quickly in order to strengthen the links that we have with the population of Ukraine.
MICHEL: And we will also be there to support their choices on their path, which is a European path. We have also had the opportunity to discuss the
way in which Europe can embark upon the agenda of sovereignty. Let me quickly run through the three pillars that we have today set out in the
We are looking to the future, in this way to give an impetus to the European project to make it a committed and robust one. First of all, we
have the question of energy. This is not new today, this challenge of energy, we decided to embark upon climate neutrality by 2050 and the idea
is to move towards greater independence, while facing the humanitarian challenges.
And there are a number of points that we want, obviously, to deal with, first of all, is the question of prices and the impact for families
throughout Europe and also for businesses. The question of dependence, which is too great that's what we're seeing today, particularly our
dependence on Russia.
And we're pursuing that ambition. We want to release ourselves from that dependency so that we can act as best we can in line with our own interests
in line with our objectives. And obviously, for the next winter, we need a particular plan.
Now, all of this is agreed on by the council together with the Commission, which is going to be following up on our work here. And this is a very
consistent agenda that has been initiated. Secondly, the question of defense and security "Defense Europe" we've been talking about this for a
long time, some progress has already been made.
But there's no denying the fact that two weeks ago, we woke up in a different Europe in a different world, we can't deny the fact that the
actions taken over the last few days. In fact, it consecrate to the emergence of a European Defense, it has formally been initiated through the
meeting today in Versailles.
And we have now an operational strategy in which we will identify the actions and investments that are going to be necessary. We've also
identified how it's going to be possible to roll out to European industrial base, taking on both the different challenges that have cybersecurity that
have space for instance, just to cite two examples.
So there are two, there's a timeline and agenda that has been set. That's the mission for the commission. And progress will be made further. Third
point that I'd like to mention the importance of consolidating our economic base, Europe is there to work in the interest of peace, security and
prosperity as an economic pillar in other words.
So it's up to us, it's up to our generation, to take decisions today that are going to make that economic base far more robust, far more resilient.
And here, I can refer to what we've done in the area of health we've seen with COVID, how important it is to coordinate even further?
And there's also the ambition linked to the semiconductors, chips, raw materials, critical materials, and of course, the vital need to continue to
be committed to innovation, particularly technological innovation. So just in a few words, that's what I can say about these very significant
decisions that I - that have been taken today.
And there's a real awareness shared by all of the elites of Europe here in Versailles. We're all aware of the importance of the moment that we're
living through, and the decisions that we're taking not just for tomorrow and the next few months, but for coming generation.
We must move towards peace, prosperity and security. These are the challenges we must pick up so that we can see tangible results more
independence, more sovereignty, less fragility, and a greater ability to determine our own fate for the European Union.
We'll have the opportunity to come back to the implementation of all of these measures because it's going to be European Council in Brussels in a
few two weeks' time. We'll be taking a look at energy and other issues. We also intend before the June Summit to have an extraordinary summit which
means that we'll be able to take a look again at security and defense.
MICHEL: So once again, I'd like to thank President Macron for having brought us here today Versailles such a symbolic place, symbolic moment.
It's the heart of European history. And yesterday and today, we came together to carry through this ambition for Europe. Thank you.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Thank you Charles, thank you Emmanuel. Thank you for hosting us in such a historic site. We're
talking about the future of Ukraine and the future of the European Union and our democracies. And it is that history that has been written, as I
Our destinies are linked. Ukraine is a member of the European family. Putin's aggression against Ukraine is an aggression an attack against all
the principles that we hold dear. It's an attack against democracy, against sovereignty of states, against the freedom of the people to choose its own
destiny, and shape its own future.
The way in which we respond today to this odious attack by Russia against Ukraine will determine the future of Ukraine and also the future of our
union and going beyond that, even the future of the entire European Continent. So let us remain faithful to the principles that have been our
guiding principles and our common responses to date its responsibility, unity, solidarity and determination.
This crisis has made us face up to our responsibilities in the face of a new reality first, our duty to continue ensuring reliable secure and
affordable supply of energy to European consumers. In the midterm, this means getting rid of our dependency on Russian gas by diversification of
supply by massively investing in renewables.
Renewables are homegrown; they create jobs here in Europe. They are a strategic investment in our security and in our independence. And this is
why the European Commission outlined "Repower EU" issue this week. "Repower EU" is a plan to diversify suppliers, and switch to renewables.
By mid-May, we will come up with a proposal to phase out our dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal by 2027 backed by the necessary national and
European resources. But we also addressed energy price spikes. By mid-May, the Commission will present options to optimize the electricity market
design, so that it better supports the green transition. But consumers and business need relief now.
And therefore this week, the commission came forward with guidance on price regulation in these exceptional circumstances, and the possibility of new
temporary crisis framework for state aid to support struggling businesses. This is complemented by the option giving to member states to tax windfall
profits from energy groups.
And finally, by the end of this month, the commission will present options to limit the contagion effect of the rise of gas prices to electricity
prices. Finally, we need to be ready for the next winter. So we will set up a task force that will design a refilling plan for the next winter and
coordinate the operation.
Beyond this first step, the European Union needs to define a longer term EU gas storage policy. And therefore the commission will table a proposal to
fill up underground gas storage is to at least 90 percent - 90 percent of their capacity by the first of October each year.
So you see it's a whole big package and this will be our insurance policy against supply disruption. Similarly, the leaders also discuss food prices
and global food security. And here to the commission will come up - come forward with options to address these important issues.
LEYEN: Putin's war has also fundamentally altered Europe's security environment. To defend Europe, we will need different forces and different
capabilities. Significant additional defense investments in Europe will be needed. And I welcome that some leaders have announced ambitious steps to
increase defense spending. More will follow.
But we need to avoid fragmentation. Thus, we need a coordinated approach. Because this only will ensure that we maintain a military technological
edge in our European industrial base, and that interoperability is given between our European armed forces.
This will be the focus of our work in the next weeks to come. I want to be very clear that we need to closely coordinate also with NATO. NATO is the
strongest military alliance in the world. Thus, I welcome that the leaders have tasked us to prepare analysis of the defense investment gaps and to
make sure that we have a clear plan how to deal with those gaps in Europe by mid-May when the commission is presenting the results of this
The second principle I mentioned was unity. It certainly guided us when we swiftly imposed all together three successive waves of sanctions on the
Kremlin. With an immediate hard hitting effect, we will now come forward with the fourth package of sanctions. These sanctions will further isolate
Russia, from the global economic system, increasing further the cost of Putin's invasion to Ukraine.
And finally, a word on solidarity, which so many Europeans are showing shining examples of in these days by welcoming with open arms, more than 2
million people who have now fled the war in Ukraine. I want to thank all EU Member States and in particular, the countries in the front line that is
Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary and of course, our partner Moldova.
Because the people of Ukraine need and deserve all support, and so do the countries that welcome them. The commission has set up a solidarity
platform to coordinate operational and financial support, and reception capacity.
We're also using the flexibility of the EU budget to the fullest, so that member states can finance actions for refugees, like for example, housing,
or schooling or medical care, and other topics. This could free this flexibility within the commission could free several billion euros over the
coming years for exactly these purposes.
The Ukrainian people are showing immense courage. And the people that stands up so bravely for European values is clearly part of the European
family of nations. So while this terrible war rages on, we should already reflect carefully about what comes next.
The membership applications of Ukraine are expressions of national sovereignty of its will. And it's right to choose its own destiny. Today,
we have opened the pathway towards us for Ukraine. They are part of the European family. Thank you.
MICHEL: Thank you, Madam President, Mr. President of the Republic?
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us here at the end of the Summit of Versailles. President Michel
and President Von Der Leyen have spoken clearly. We're in the - and if anyone thought that war in Europe belongs to history. For the last two
weeks, we've seen that the choice by Russia under President Putin was to bring war back to Europe in the face of this and the unheard of violence of
Russia against Ukraine and its population is a tragic turning point for our history.
MACRON: In fact that it's a turning point as well for our societies for our peoples and for our European project. For the last two weeks our response
ladies and gentlemen, this has just been said, we've responded through unity, rapidity, and a spirit of responsibility choices were made very
quickly, all 27 with our institutions and coordinated with all of our partners in the context of NATO and G7.
Diplomatic work has made it possible to isolate Russia - earlier recently at the General Assembly of the United Nations for two weeks now Ukrainian
men and women have been fighting courageously to defend their freedom, their democracy, their sovereignty and the integrity of their land.
Europeans have a clear position, unanimous and firm condemnation of the Russian aggression at all international levels, and we've drawn full
consequences of this - with the resolution that was adopted the General Assembly, support to Ukraine. Together, we've agreed to deliver hardware,
not just humanitarian material, but also weapons.
And we propose today that the European facility be attitude to the tune of some 500 million which is going to allow us to go further in this line,
countries that in the password traditionally neutral. Sweden, for instance has decided for the very first time that - in the first time in decades,
they will take an active role in the support to Ukraine.
We also have economic support, humanitarian support, this will be continued, some 2 million refugees have been welcomed. Madam Von Der Leyen
has referred to this and I'd like to thank the populations of the neighboring countries, Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova as well.
And obviously, France will be playing its role. And I would hope that we will be able to have the necessary mechanisms of solidarity that can be
used in this overall approach. As of the very outset, we also deployed massive unheard of sanctions, and this was done very quickly.
Second, fourth, sixth days of conflict, they were marked by European decisions of these unprecedented sanctions. We're willing to adopt other
sanctions and all options are on the table. The point of our discussion is to order - to prepare ourselves to these sanctions if they were able to
call a halt to the attack and the aggression and could prepare us also for the consequences in the coming weeks and months.
Our initial objective is, of course, the rapid return to peace, starting with the ceasefire, followed by a rapid withdrawal of Russian troops. And
that is why keeping up pressure on Russia, and we're also maintaining a very demanding dialogue, in particular, in conjunction with the German
So the support to solidarity for Ukraine is what kept us very busy, particularly yesterday. We support Ukraine today. And we will do that for
as long as the war lasts. And we will be there for the reconstruction of this destruction brought about by Russia, we will be there to help it to
stand up and stay standing.
The message that we first sent out to the Ukrainian population is that the path to our Europe is open to them. Their fight for freedom and democracy
for the values that we all share has demonstrated that Ukraine is indeed a member of our European family.
We also want the applications made by Moldova and Georgia as well be examined in line with our treaty by the European Commission, so that the
acceptability can be determined, in line with the provisions of our treaty. The Versailles Declaration the agenda of Versailles that we've been
discussing today, is linked to the fact that sovereignty in Europe, which might have been thought of by some as a slogan, or a sort of French
fantasy, is seen by all today as being crucial.
This sovereignty, this strategy of independence has been there at the very start also of the pandemic, we've seen what had to be done. It is there
when we had to produce and deliver vaccines for ourselves and for other countries. We've seen it too when we came out of the crisis, the start of
the recovery when we saw what was happening as regards the semiconductors when we had delegated production to the other parts of the world.
How difficult it was to return to the manufacturing of cars, for instance? And we're seeing it in the context of this crisis where we can see how our
food our energy our defense all issues of sovereignty? We can cooperate.
MACRON: We want to be open to the world, but we want to choose our partners and not depend on any. That's what we mean by sovereignty. It's not
protectionism, it's not a question of closing the door, it's a question of having the possibility of staying open without being dependent.
So the Versailles agenda has set out the next few months work along those lines. As regards defense, we want to be able to define the investments
that we need, several of us have already at the level of 2 percent of GDP invested in defense, others are further efforts to make but we're going to
make coordinated efforts.
We're going to identify our needs and budget returns, we're going to identify capabilities that are required. We'll also identify our needs,
when it comes to possible new conflicts, whether we're talking about shipping, maritime space, and also identify what we need in order to
develop the European industrial issue.
If we're going to import more in the way of hardware from elsewhere, then there's much not much point pursuing this sort of sovereignty, we need to
think in terms of partnerships, yes, but we have to be able to decide to consolidate and to construct a defense industry with fewer standards, but
corresponding to an integrated market.
So the number of decisions that we've already taken - about 10 days ago, Germany, in turn decided to make historic investments for the country. And
Denmark made an historic choice, deciding to ask the people if they want to come back to the European security and defense project.
You can see that everywhere around the European continent, historic choices are being made. And this is a major turning point. We need to have the
organization so that we can build this joint ambition in defense. And this is what we have asked the commission to do so that by May when we met, I'd
have an extraordinary meeting of the Council before the summit in June.
In the summit meeting in June, we will work up a plan which is full for investment to get our industries up to the right to the capacity and
capability. And then, in - we've got the question of, of climate strategy. We've started building our own independence, getting out of fossil energy
is a matter of becoming independent.
And we know that moving away from coal was a special punk, then we moving to gas, but that's gas that we have important - importing from Russia. The
situation that we're in the moment at which we will have tomorrow means we have to reassess the strategy and be even more ambitious with our climate
And for that, we will have a check on this by late March and see how we can provide the support so for our populations for pricing, and we're going to
work on this at the commission with concrete objectives for prices and for refilling, so that we can guarantee their mechanisms, which means that
we're not subjected to the contingencies of the market or speculation of the market and in particular, in crisis situations.
Many of you have already taken steps to protect our citizens and companies and we need to have European choices. And in the two weeks to come, we will
do our best so that we can stand up to the price shock, which comes from the geopolitical context. Prices were going up before the war and they're
continuing to increase because of the war.
Then, of course, we have the sanctions which are coming in, and we must prepare ourselves so that we are not so sensitive to the dependency on
Russia. And this is what we've scheduled for May for the commission. As the two presidents have pointed out, we have the plan to step out of the
dependency on fossil fuels from Russia, so that we can get up by 2027 so that we are no longer dependent on Russian gas, oil and coal.
That's by 2027. This means there has to be new investment new facilities so that we can support our choices for renewables and for nuclear energy. You
can see that March and May will be very busy for energy subjects. And there are other issues that we will have to work together on to ensure that we
are independent and sovereign is the food strategy.
MACRON: Whether we're talking about wheat or maize or grain crops in general, we know that Ukraine and Russia are two huge markets. And Europe
is already been upset by the war on the on the food supply market. And this will be even more served in in 12 to 18 months with the impact on Ukraine
and crops them.
And they will be a major disturbance to food supplies in the field on feed supplies. So we have to strike a new balance and look at food productions,
and that we can have autonomy for our food production and for protein production.
And we must reassess the strategy for Africa, because a number of African countries are going to be hit by famines in the next 12 to 18 months,
because of this war. Then there is sovereignty for other commodities, raw materials for rare materials.
And I mentioned the question of semiconductors, healthcare, I won't go through the whole list, but we have this agenda, we will be going through
this in the months to come with very concrete proposals for investments, which will make it possible for to have more sovereign and more independent
We will be encouraging private investments; this is the idea with the tax on energy. And we're going to have the unit of capitals, and we're going to
look at the single market in different sectors. We have to have the appropriate monetary possible.
We are not going back in to normal now, it's quite clear, and the European - Central European Bank will be following its work. And we'll be doing this
very clearly in the current geopolitical context. And we'll have national investment policies to protect us from the impact of the war, to fund our
solidarity, to fund our resistance to the impact of the war, and through defend our sovereignty.
But the next point is that we need to have means of funding these major strategies, funding from Europe. These are the things I mentioned. And this
is why we need to have joint funding. We need to coordinate our investments. And we should do it in a European context, so that we don't
see the financial markets being broken up into different forms of sovereign debt.
This is what we've been working on as our strategy. And we'll be working on it for months to come. And here we will have to be acting together acting
swiftly and with a spirit of responsibility. The Ukrainians have given us an example, which is quite unique, the example of courage.
We are not waging war. Europe is not waging war on Russia, but we're supporting Ukraine and where sanctioning Russia. We must have the courage
to make historic decisions and to see that the defense of democracy and our values has a cost.
The choice of independence has a cost. And sometimes we have to go back on some of the - that we've been following for years. The different habits and
ways of organizing things which we had and I can tell you that the discussions we had yesterday and today have realized this awareness.
And we can see there's a real ambition here for the Europeans here in their side to advance in that direction. And I would like to conclude on that. We
started the work yesterday by extending thanks to some of the colleagues and I would like to say this to the President of the Commission, because
here in Versailles, it's a very historic site which the French and of course and above all, and which we're very proud of, and we see it is known
around the world.
But it's a site which is also the site of diplomatic defeat. It's the site where we lost peace at the end of the world war. And we will be there with
an ambition to humiliate and divide - with the Treaty of Exxon. And despite the difficulties we've had here today with the emotions and different
attitudes that we did have a unanimous agreement on the fact that the only way of protecting our continent was through unity through courage and unity
that's the most important thing.
MACRON: Thank you.
MICHEL: Thank you Chair. I would like to inform you that we've just published our Versailles Declaration in the 24 languages of the European.
And we're going to take a few questions in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --Radio France. You had a two day Summit. And you've been talking about European being more powerful of Moscow. You're talking
about an agenda. You've talked about 2027. You've talked about other possible sanctions, but we've seen what's happened in the field with - and
the maternity hospital bombed.
And we can see that sanctions are not enough. And the feeling is that you don't really have any other tools or unanimous agreement for swift, strong
action, and something which could make person back down. Now, are you in a state where you're just impotent?
MACRON: Now, let's be clear, there is war there. But we are not at war. What you've stated is true. But the political reality, the sovereign choice
is that one, as I said, we are not at war. You're quite correct to say that we don't have a response in a theater of war, which was triggered by
Russian aggression, because we are not there in the theater of war.
Have we excluded additional sanctions, certainly not the G7, the statement, which will be issued in a few hours, will confirm additional sanctions? And
then depending on what happens in the country, in Ukraine, we are not excluding other possibilities.
Now, if things continue in military way that you've just described, we may take a further sanctions, including massive sanctions. But at this point in
time, Europeans are intervening in three different ways. There are sanctions against Russia.
And we'll take other sanctions there. And if the circumstances required, we will take follow those sanctions to the very end. Then there's support for
Ukraine, which we will continue to do. And then there's diplomatic action to isolate Russia of the United Nations, and to convince President Putin to
come back to the negotiation table - in true sincerity with the President of Ukraine so as to find an agreement.
This is the framework of our actions. And of course, we speak out against and condemn entirely, what happens and what has happened in Kharkiv, and in
Mariupol, which is totally unacceptable. But for the moment, and the Europeans, we as Europeans, we are not at war in Ukraine.
LEYEN: Indeed, it is atrocious, it is atrocious this bombardment of the material at hospital, for example. And I think there needs to be
investigations about the question of war crimes. Therefore this has to be reflected and recorded, soberly.
But I would also support the fact I mean, we are at day 15 of this horrible war. And as the President said, on - we were well prepared on day to day
four and day six, we had each time a massive package of sanctions.
Today, a week later, you see that the Ruble is in free fall; it has lost more than 50 percent compared to the euro. You see that they are
skyrocketing interest rates in Russia. You see a soaring inflation, the rating agencies do rate the Russian bonds as junk by now, and recession is
hitting the country.
This within 15 days, this shows the severity and the impact of our sanctions, and therefore the fourth package will come. And as the President
said, we have our way to answer to the atrocious aggression that Putin is showing, and we will be determined and forceful in the answer.
MICHEL: Thank you, Madam President. The next question - I got from BFM TV.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --French president, the 27 has refused to have swift accession of Ukraine to the European Union. The Ukrainian President just
asked you to do more and has asked for political decisions to be in line with the feelings of the people.
I'd like to know how you cope with the criticism that comes almost on a daily basis from Kyiv. Do you think EU membership for Ukraine is a dream or
is it really achievable?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I have another question that I wanted to ask in concrete terms for sanctions? Have you decided to have two thirds reduction
of Russian gas imports by the end of the year, which has been suggested by the President of the Commission? And could there be something to solve
between more sanctions and restricting purchases - your and don't you think there might be social response to this?
MACRON: To answer your second question, by developing mechanisms, we've shown that we could adopt sanctions and protect ourselves from the
consequences have joint protection for consumers and companies. But of course, let's be clear, obviously, the world market, the global market for
raw materials, was already going up in price before the war, that for gas, oil and other commodities or industrial components.
There was already an increase in prices, so you need to make a distinction there. And the governments are not here to cope with all inflation. France,
for example, has coped with a lot of inflation and that's quite exceptional. Now take the example of gas. With gas we don't have a major
impact from the crisis under sanctions and where the market went up by 40 percent.
It only went up 4 percent for consumers because we had a shield in place. Now we get work on other European mechanisms, too. So what I'm saying is
that we think and we know that we have the wherewithal to impose sanctions, and to cope with counter sanctions and to protect our economies, because we
have strength at a national level and at a European level. That's for your question.
I think we must show great respect and solidarity for the people of Ukraine and the leaders of Ukraine. And I can understand the emotional response and
the expectations that are there. Yesterday, the European Council conveyed a very strong and clear message. That was the message about the fate of
Ukraine in Europe and the path to its destiny there.
Now, could we have exceptional measures with the country which is at war without respecting the criteria? The answer is no. Could we say that we
would then abandon neighboring Moldova, which is - and the presence of external forces and the dependency on Russian gas and refugees turning up?
Obviously, the answer is no. If we were there in the war, could we forget that the way the other Western Balkan States have been trying to join the
union, and they've been doing it for so long, and they're in a fragile state, and they're impacted by the geopolitical situation too.
So obviously, we can't do that. So you can see yesterday, we sent out a very clear message, a political message, and we're expressing our heartfelt
wish to UK saying, our path is with you and our family is your family. But in the months to come, we will have to have an in depth reassessment of
what our Europe is.
And I think I can tell you that with the geopolitical situation, and the tragic return of war, and the revisionism in history, and the ambitions for
the war, and - I mean, we have to think about how we want to organize a larger Europe, which is not necessarily Europe with the same public
policies that we have that we have in France and other countries in the European Union.
But we wouldn't have to include other countries that otherwise would be destabilized by political extremism by the whims of Russia or by invasion
from China, moving in, at our gateways. And this means we will have to look again at the way we govern ourselves, the way we organize ourselves.
And this is why we have decided to have a conference on the future of European. This is a geopolitical awareness and which is much greater given
this context and this means we will have to get ideas coming together by some of this year, and we will have defined new forms for Europe. I'm
convinced of that.
LEYEN: Indeed, President Zelenskyy has with his application, set a process in motion. And I just wanted to remind that from the day of the application
to today it was just very short time that the council tasked the commission to form an opinion on this application.
LEYEN: Normally this takes years. So it shows that there is a completely different process going on. The process itself is important, as the
president said, that is their conditions to be part of the European Union that has to be met.
But we are also aware of the fact that having a free and democratic Ukraine after the war will also mean that a lot of rebuilding the country will be
done with strong support from the European Union too. So I want to emphasize that there is an enormous speed in the process over the last
days, really to show that Ukraine is indeed part of our European family.
And your second question on the 2/3 reduction, potential reduction of Russian gas within a year indeed, this is doable. It's not a ban; it is a
reduction by going on one hand in the diversification of the supply so making sure that we have a lot more LNG coming to the European Union.
And then pays off that over the last weeks, we've been working hard, and have been calling all our friends around the world, and we have many
friends around the world that we need higher supplies of LNG gas. Thanks a lot. We've done our homework and we have the LNG terminals.
There have been investments massive investments in the pipeline network throughout the European Union. So with the LNG terminals, and an increased
LNG supply, we're able to replace quite a part of the Russian gas.
An example is the January we never had so many LNG vessels and so high amounts of LNG supply to the European Union as in the month of January,
because we just actively asked the other suppliers in the world.
Then, of course, it needs to be accompanied by heavy investment in renewables, but also bio-methane, for example, or increase in hydrogen,
this will rise over the years, this is the beginning only, it's one of the most interesting projects to invest in the hydrogen.
Because whatever we do now, with the LNG gas, and the pipelines can one day be used as infrastructure for hydrogen. So it's a perfect transition into
the hydrogen that will be one of the energy sources of the future.
And then, of course, you can see in the communication that the commissions put on the table this Tuesday, a detailed table with the different sectors
where we can also reduce the energy consumption, thus, reduce our dependency on Russian gas.
Last but not least, it's not going to be easy. It's going to be hard. And, as I've already said, it needs the support by everybody. Everyone can do
something, for example, by reducing the energy consumption we have overall, the individual contribution by 450 million Europeans makes a big chunk.
If you look at that, and the combination of diversification, more renewables, and smart use of energy would make it possible.
MICHEL: Let me also see that Ukrainians today are fighting with courage that really impresses us all. They're fighting for their land. They're
fighting for their sovereignty. They're fighting for their children, and for their future. And they're fighting so they can belong to the free
Fundamentally, they're fighting for our values as Europeans. Around the table yesterday, there was a total agreement among all of the leaders, that
there is a real need a vital need for us as European Union to show that we have courage as well. That means an ability to act.
Show this courage without waiting without hesitating, committing and bringing in as much as we can, in all sectors possible circumstances, the
process? Well, you've already had an answer on that the process will continue.
And the commission will issue an opinion. And we will in the meantime, be continuing the discussion at the level of the European Council on this
issue. But I really want to say to you that my firm conviction is that this huge respect felt for the way in which the Ukrainians have a lesson for us
all to learn from on freedoms. And we have to be committed to show that we can live up to their hopes and aspirations.
MICHEL: --from Bloomberg next John?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could ask a question in English, please if all the participants actually two questions. The first one is on refugees. The
British government has announced measures to relax entry into the UK for Ukrainian nationals with passports.
I wanted to ask you if this is enough for easing there entering the country. And if you believe that the UK is now doing its fair share of the
burden. And the other question on spending on defense and on energy. What was the - what were the reflections on the idea of common debt? Was there a
consensus? Or is there division on this? Thank you.
MACRON: On the first point, let me say that I welcome the change in position of the UK, which goes to show that there was a problem,
notwithstanding what might have been said at the time.
And I don't think anyone could have understood that after so many strong statements that we share, that the UK Government had continued to implement
the existing rules, which means not welcoming the Ukrainian refugees who wanted to come to the UK, saying that they have to travel hundreds of
kilometers in order to apply for a visa.
So it's a glimmer of pragmatism and that starting to align itself with some be declarations and statements, which is a step in the right direction, and
it seems to be working well then. It's going in the right direction although, much remains to be done.
I'd like to thank the UK Government. And I think that the French Home Affairs Minister letter was probably a useful one. And I would hope that
the Ukrainian men and women who have lived through horrors who have crossed Europe to reach their families on UK territory will be better treated.
Obviously, we'll be doing what we can. And we're trying to cut back on the red tape so that they can reach more dignified living conditions. So I'd
like to thank the UK Government for this first step, and over the coming days that we'll be able to see whether it's enough, or whether more
effective measures are going to be required. We have also said that we are willing to house in Lille or other cities, a place for the Civil Procedures
to be run through.
And then on the question of the common debt, joint debt. I think that the right strategy, as we've seen during the pandemic, is to agree on
objectives. And when we do that, when you reach agreement on objectives, then the instruments just follow.
If we start by working on the instruments, given that we have divisions or disagreements, generally things don't move forward, and we waste time. So
well, first of all, we've seen this unanimity today, unanimity to as we got the need to invest in all sorts of types of sovereignty, digital food,
energy, and so on, all that is covered.
And then we give a mandate to the commission to do the work to say how much is to be needed that has to be assessed, and through that we can see what
can be covered by the private sector want can be covered by the public sector.
And depending on all of that, and how quickly it's done, we'll have a discussion as regards the actual resources and the mechanisms. In any case,
it's certainly not past debt. But we're going to be talking about activating mechanisms have already been used, for example, in the situation
of the pandemic, but this is a question of the instruments.
The instruments are only there as a means of the end. There's unanimity as regards the strategic objective. And now the March and May summits will
make it possible for us to clarify our operational objectives, which will make it possible for us to identify the tools, the instruments that will
get us there. That's how we're going to go through this.
LEYEN: What your first question is concerned, indeed, we welcome this improvement for the Ukrainian refugees. This is a good step in the absolute
right direction. As you know, we in the European Union already a week ago, we have activated the so called Temporary Protection Directive, for the
very first time in the history of the European Union.
This gives all Ukrainian immediately residency rights. And by that, of course, access to the labor market immediately access to schools to medical
care, to otherwise support so that these poor innocent people immediately find a home here and can get on to try to accommodate in the European