European Union: War in Ukraine is not West versus Rest of the World

Patrick Simonnet

Patrick Simonnet

By Habib Toumi

MANAMA: The War in Ukraine should not be framed as a European issue or as ‘West versus the rest of the world’, a European Union (EU) diplomat has stressed.

“Supporting Ukraine and working for peace go hand in hand. In all this, the EU does not ask anyone to ‘pick a side’. We just ask everybody to stand on the side of the UN Charter and international law,” EU Ambassador to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman Patrick Simonnet has said.

“This war is neither ‘just a European issue’, nor is it about the ‘West versus the rest’. It is about the kind of world we all want to live in: no one is safe in a world where the illegal use of force – by a nuclear power and permanent member of the Security Council – would somehow be ‘normalized’,” he said at areception to mark Europe Day hosted by German Ambassador Clemens Hach at his residence.

That is why international law must be enforced everywhere to protect everyone from power politics, blackmail and military attack, the diplomat added.

“For the European Union and our partners, there is no alternative to staying the course of our ‘triple strategy’: supporting Ukraine, putting pressure on Russia to stop its illegal aggression and helping the rest of the world cope with the fallout,” he said.

Action taken by the European Union included adopting unprecedented sanctions; cut dependency on Russian fossil fuels; and in close collaboration with key partners, reducing by 50% the energy revenues the Kremlin gets to finance its aggression, he added.

“Working together, we have also mitigated the global ripple effects with food and energy prices declining, partly thanks to our Solidarity Lanes and to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. We want peace in Ukraine, a lasting peace that is in line with the UN Charter and international law.”

German Ambassador Ambassador Clemens Hach hosting the Europe Day reception

German Ambassador Clemens Hach hosting the Europe Day reception

A multi-country survey published in February by the European Council on Foreign Relations has shown a deep division on whether to win the war or to stop the war.

According to the poll, Europeans and Americans agree on the necessity to win the war and that they should help Ukraine to win it. They support the ideas that Ukraine needs to regain all its territory, even if it means a longer war or more Ukrainians being killed and displaced.

However, citizens in China, India, and Turkiye clearly prefer the war to stop as soon as possible, even if it means Ukraine giving control of areas to Russia.

The study found that attempts by President Joe Biden to frame the war as a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism and to use the defense of democracy as a rallying cry at home and abroad, offer no sure-fire way to appeal to citizens in non-Western countries.

The European Union celebrates Europe Day on May 9, bases on the Schuman declaration that marks the beginning of the European integration project.

Five years after World War II ended, six countries, former enemies, agreed on a simple but far-reaching idea: to pool the production of coal and steel-what cannons are made of – in order to make another war materially impossible. Since then, the six have become 27 countries and turned into an ever-closer political and economic bloc.

However, the celebration of the longest period of peace and stability in Europe’s written history has been marred since last year by the war in Ukraine, which has brought back war on European territory.

“This was and remains a case of pure aggression and a clear-cut breach of the UN Charter,” Simonnet said.

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