Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, lauding the Western response to the war in Ukraine, said US President Joe Biden’s weekend visit to Brussels had sent a powerful message to the world that “the transatlantic partnership stands stronger and more united than ever.”
Describing Western sanctions against Russia as “extraordinary and exceptional”, she said they are “working their way deep into the Russian system, draining Putin’s resources to finance this atrocious war.”
She was convinced that the sanctions showed how Western countries “can make a difference” by acting in unison. Transatlantic cooperation continues on security and humanitarian issues, she noted, as the EU and the US fight “the threats against our democracies.”
Von der Leyen noted that approximately half of the roughly 3.5 million that have fled Ukraine are children. She reiterated how the EU had committed to allocating an additional 3.4 billion euro for refugee aid, with more to come in the future.
Given how energy-intensive EU industry is, she stressed the importance of reducing the bloc’s dependency on Russian imports. This, she said, would be accomplished by investing in renewables and the diversification of fossil fuel sources. As Europeans, “we want to diversify away from Russia towards suppliers that we trust, that are our friends and that are reliable.”
The US would supply the EU with liquefied natural gas (LNG) in coming years. Germany had recently turned to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for help, and has announced plans to build LNG terminals for imports of gas from the two countries.
Von der Leyen concluded her remarks with a warning that Western countries must adapt their democracies “to a changing world.” She said this was especially true when dealing with privacy and personal data protection, citing how the EU and the US had g “found an agreement in principle.”