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EU summit

Mixed picture on top jobs and foreign policy

Commenting on the EU summit’s decisions on the EU top jobs and discussions on the Ukraine crisis, the Greens/EFA Co-Presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts stated:

“Greens/EFA congratulate Federica Mogherini and Donald Tusk on their nominations to the top EU posts. Donald Tusk’s election marks a first in terms of the long overdue representation of the Member States of Central and South-eastern Europe at EU top level. We also welcome the fact that the EU Heads of State and Government have agreed on a committed European. However, Greens are also prepared for major clashes as Donald Tusk is known to be a convinced climate change sceptic and has also made questionable decisions on pensions and education policy in his own country.

“Unfortunately, in the decision on Ashton’s successor for the post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the Heads of State and Government have again chosen a candidate with little experience of foreign affairs. Greens are concerned that Federica Mogherini will also struggle to unify 28 foreign ministers on a common EU position. It is clear that the EU’s foreign affairs ministers will continue to view the Foreign Representative and the EEAS as unnecessary competition.

“In addition to this, Mogherini’s nomination does not resolve the issue of the demand for equal participation of women in the Commission. It is not enough if out of a total of six top EU jobs*, only one goes to a woman. The Greens/EFA group will only support the next Commission if there are at least as many women commissioners as in the current one.

“The nominees’ biggest challenge will be, together with Jean-Claude Juncker, to better hold the EU together. In addition to the rifts caused by the financial and economic crisis, the Russian crisis is now putting the EU's cohesion to the test.

“Following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, all efforts to dissuade President Putin from further invading Ukraine have failed. Russia is not only jeopardising the European peace order but is also systematically violating international law and diplomatic rules. The EU can and must respond in turn with economic sanctions.

“However, the sanctions’ actual application must be taken seriously and the EU Member States should show solidarity on this. There must be an end to exceptions for weapons exports from France, banking deals in Austria or the sale of German RWE-daughter DEA to a Russian oligarch. By allowing such exceptions the EU has strengthened Putin and given Ukrainians the feeling that they have no one to rely on but themselves and that their only available course of action is military.

The EU must support the true goals of the Euromaidan movement and cannot allow Russian aggression to destroy Ukraine’s new beginnings.”

* EU Commission President, EU Council President, President of the European Parliament, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Head of the European Central Bank, Head of the Eurogroup