French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against humiliating Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, if and when any peace settlement is agreed.
He told reporters in Strasbourg that once the war ends, Moscow and Kyiv will eventually have to sit down and negotiate with each other, so any further tensions will only serve to the detriment of the situation.
“We will have a peace to build tomorrow, let us never forget that,” Macron said on Monday. “I mentioned this earlier. We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. The end of the discussion and the negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia. But it will not be done in denial, nor in exclusion of each other, nor even in humiliation.”
Macron also laid out his vision of a broader community of European democracies that would allow for deeper cooperation between non-EU countries.
Within this new political union, nations like Ukraine and even the UK could be a part of it.
“The European Union, given the level of its integration and ambition, cannot be in the short term the only means of structuring the European continent,” he said.
“It’s our historic obligation to respond to that today and to create what I would call a European political community. This new European organisation would allow European democratic nations adhering to our core values to find a new space for co-operation on politics, security, energy, transport, infrastructure investments and the movement of people, especially the young.”
The proposals were made on Europe Day at the same time as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s huge military parades in Moscow on Victory Day.
For European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the contrast between the EU and Russia could not be starker.
“I think that today speaks volumes and it speaks for itself. On the one hand, you see an autocrat, Vladimir Putin in Moscow and he has had his military parade – this is the only thing he has to offer his people,” von der Leyen told reporters. “And then on the other hand here in the EP you see a celebration of democracy.”
Monday marked the end of the Conference on the Future of Europe, a year-long process in which European citizens gave their views on what they want for the future of the 27 member bloc.