What we have witnessed is historic unity in the EU… The real heroes are, of course, the Ukrainian women and men fighting for their – and our – freedom. But it is also true that the unified response of the EU has contributed to strengthening Ukraine economically and militarily
Firstly, we should be proud of the fact that we have seen an unprecedented level of solidarity and resistance during the last two major crises – the pandemic and Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine. Instead of being divided, we have been astonishingly united in our responses. This shows that our societies are strong when and where it really matters. The speed at which the scientific community was able to develop vaccines that saved millions of lives was unprecedented, and so was our common European response to Russia when it attacked Ukraine on 24th February. What we have witnessed is historic unity in the EU, a bloc created out of the ashes of WWII in order to prevent any devastating new wars between former enemies. The real heroes are, of course, the Ukrainian women and men fighting for their – and our – freedom.
But it is also true that the unified response of the EU has contributed to strengthening Ukraine economically and militarily. Another reason for optimism is the fact that the state of European industry remains strong. The argument that Western sanctions hurt Europe more than Russia has been proven false. If we look at the bigger picture, you could actually say that we are getting collectively smarter, more coordinated and better at solving problems. This is true in medicine and science, but also in politics. For example, it is now a well-established fact that the most important progress within the EU has been a result of dealing with crises. The typical Swedish take is that most problems can be solved, and I truly believe that the last few years have shown us precisely that. Sweden takes over the presidency of the EU in January, and for six months will drive the EU’s agenda forward. We now have the Tirana Declaration, making it clearer than ever that the EU is committed to welcoming our Western Balkan partners into the family. Now is the time to speed up reforms, harmonise policies and implement decisive new measures for the geostrategic orientation of the region.