Mr President, with Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and the European continent on the brink of a large-scale war, we are reminded once again that peace should not be taken for granted. Peace should be aspired to and built. A stronger, more united EU is the best way to establish peace in Europe, its neighbourhood and in many other regions worldwide.
Such an ambitious goal requires ambitious transformation. The EU needs to stop being only a timid economic giant and instead start acting more confidently on the global stage. To the militarisation by Russia and the weaponisation of narratives by China and Russia, we need to combat with a coherent European voice and action guided by our fundamental values and interest.
We need to use all sources of our power, be it economic and normative. And we need to strengthen resilience and security of this Union and its allies in eastern Europe, in the Balkans and elsewhere.