French ambassador to Spain Jean Michel Casa told the Russian government this Thursday that it is responsible for creating the crisis over Ukraine, although he has claimed that Europe has “a role of its own” during the crisis Dialogue between “Europeans and Americans” in the relevant forums “to promote dialogue between NATO and Russia”.
Speaking at an event organized by the New Economy Forum, the French diplomat lamented that we are witnessing “a tension surrounding Ukraine that was not caused by himself.” “We are not facing a situation where the United States or Europe has taken the initiative with aggressive attitudes. The reality is that it was Russia that proposed terms to the Atlantic Alliance and the United States and deployed thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine,” he claimed.
He emphasized that “[Josep]Borrell’s entire policy is based on helping Europe play its role”. “Of course we are linked to our allies, but the idea is to talk to each other in the existing forums to encourage dialogue, as has already been done and will happen in the coming days,” he said.
In this sense, he recalled that on Wednesday there was a meeting between diplomatic advisers in the so-called “Normandy format”, which arose as a result of the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. “This is intended to promote dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, moderated by France and Germany,” he explained, before clarifying that the conclusions of the day point to a “positive sign of detente”.
“This is basically the policy that Europe is pursuing through its High Representative and its Presidency, which consists not only of preparing a response to possible Russian aggression against Ukraine, preparing sanctions and promoting a policy of deterrence, but also the To keep channels open for dialogue with Russia,” he clarified. “We want to get out of escalation to enter the logic of de-escalation,” he added.
On this point, the President of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, stressed that “European values are more important today than ever” because “the threats to these values, democratic values, are great”. “There is nothing more representative of the need to support, defend and defend these union values,” he said.
Referring to France’s “pro tempore” presidency of the European Union, Batet explained that France’s weight in European construction “is as relevant as its own pro-European vocation, which is shaped by its conviction that the construction of Europe will not be diluted or weaken the state (…) but the best way to strengthen it in the face of a world that needs more supranational action every day if we want to be really effective”.
Casa has expressed that the situation in Europe’s economy has been “strained” since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the establishment of a recovery plan that he describes as “enormous”.
“We try to implement the plan as effectively as possible, each state with its own, of course negotiated with the European institutions, but also with the idea of joint action,” he said. For him, the term “recovery” can be “misleading” because “we not only want to recover or try to go back to the previous situation, but we also want to create a new model that corresponds to our priorities in terms of more economic change and digitality, which greater consideration of social rights”.
He stressed that Europe “has a particular vision of a resolutely modern economy, committed to change and never sacrificing what is fundamental, what is human”. “Spain is a very European brand, (…) and we want to make Europe a pioneering area in terms of social responsibility,” he underlined.
For his part, the ambassador pointed out that France is aiming for an “intelligent and dynamic” implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. “We are now in a less asymmetric crisis that affects all European countries more and we got this very strong response with the European recovery plan proposed by France and Germany and we must not forget that unanimously, shortly after from the beginning of this one crisis, we decided to suspend the rules of the Stability Pact precisely in order not to disrupt all growth,” he said.
For this reason, he said, “more than ever, European construction and integration need a social aspect that may have been lacking in the past”. “We have to correct that and we already have very strong foundations,” he emphasized, before championing the “social issue,” which he doesn’t think is “an option.” “We cannot come out of the crisis feeling that there are more social gaps and inequalities,” he said.
On the power and energy supply in Europe, Casa pointed out that “this does not have to be just a military dimension, although it is important”. “We have made great progress, especially after the UK left. (…) But here, too, power is not just limited to the defense sector, it’s a bit about strengthening our Europe with a more active industrial policy, adopting a form of power agenda in economic matters as well, regardless of supplies from abroad,” explained he considers that this topic led to “failures” at the beginning of the pandemic.
“In terms of energy, we cannot rely exclusively on foreign markets. (…) An industrial policy is not being drawn up at European level, but more resources need to be made available to support innovation and the emergence of large, capable companies to lead in these sectors,” he warned.
He also said that inflation was “worrying”, although he noted that it was “normal in a recovery phase”. “It is important to be able to react to these tensions and there is some form of coordination at European level in controlling these prices. (…) We must avoid a more permanent form of inflation,” he explained.
Regarding a possible increase in fuel prices, the French diplomat has warned that this could lead to protests and a crisis, as happened in France during the “yellow vest” demonstrations. “It’s a kind of crisis that could arise in other countries of the Union, with populations rejecting a green energy transition that is felt to be absolutely necessary, but without having excessive consequences for consumers,” he said.
At the same time, he defended the use of nuclear energy in France, wanting to put into perspective that “one can have an ideological vision”, although it is a matter of “energy that is completely decarbonized, cheap and controlled, which gives us great independence in supply”. ” We have a pragmatic and non-ideological vision,” he said.