Europe ministers condemn Russian actions in Ukraine and call for the respect of fundamental values in the EU

12/04/2022 - War in Ukraine, the rule of law in Europe, and the Conference on the Future of Europe on PES meeting agenda

Pictured: Malta's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, Ian Borg, meeting Chair and Finland's Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, and PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet at the PES GAC meeting in Luxembourg today

Pictured: Malta's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, Ian Borg, meeting Chair and Finland's Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, and PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet at the PES GAC meeting in Luxembourg today

The annual dialogue on the rule of law must not duck tough questions on adherence to European values, progressive ministers cautioned today as they met in Luxembourg to exchange on key issues facing Europe ahead of the General Affairs Council (GAC).

Ministers from Finland, Denmark, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain took part in the PES meeting, reiterating their condemnation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling on all EU member states to uphold fundamental European values.

Today, the GAC will hold the annual dialogue on the rule of law. Fundamental rights in five member states will be discussed: Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands and Austria. Last week, the EU Commission announced that it will trigger the rule of law conditionality mechanism against Hungary for failing to act on corruption. Progressives have issued consistent warnings about the actions of the Hungarian government when it comes to the rule of law.

PES GAC Chair, Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen, said:

“There are widespread fears that our union of values is being actively undermined in parts of Europe. Today’s dialogue is an important moment for the EU to take stock of developments.

“Fundamental beliefs such as rights for the LGBTQ+ community, women, and migrants, as well as judicial independence and media freedom, must be respected by all. Socialists and democrats have warned time and time again about violations of these standards. European values must apply to all European citizens, regardless of their member state. We will keep fighting to defend this principle.

“The rule of law is not simply a question of idealistic principles but has also concrete effects. It is about resilience, it is about the smooth functioning of the internal market, and it is about safeguarding mutual trust.”

Alongside the Annual Rule of Law dialogue, ministers discussed Europe’s response to the Ukraine crisis. They voiced their dismay at the continued barbarity of the Russian invasion and expressed full support for Ukraine. The meeting commended European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson for her swift action to support refugees, the majority of which are women and children. This includes the activation of the Temporary Protection Mechanism and actions to prevent human trafficking.

Following the invasion, the meeting also reaffirmed the need for Europe to secure energy independence. Ministers welcomed the REPowerEU proposal put forward by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans. This plan will reposition the EU to fight the energy crisis and reduce reliance on Russian gas, while also accelerating progress towards the goals of the European Green Deal.

On the Conference on the Future of Europe, ministers urged the Conference to ensure that the exercise is democratic, meaningful, and genuinely reflects the views of European citizens.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen, Chair, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Finland
  • Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark
  • Vincenzo Amendola, Undersecretary of State, delegated to European Affairs, Italy
  • Ian Borg, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, Malta
  • Tiago Antunes, Secretary of State for the European Union, Portugal
  • Pascual Navarro, Secretary of State for the European Union, Spain
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES