The measures of the European Commission in response to the Russia-Ukraine war have backfired, weakened the European economy and caused “rampant” inflation, MEP Tamás Deutsch of ruling Fidesz told the plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday. “The commission’s new proposals won’t solve the emerging crisis,” he added. EC President Ursula von der Leyen told the EP that EU sanctions had caused the Russian financial system “to fight for its life” and its industry to collapse. She said the EU was committed to standing by Ukraine in the war and would support the country’s reconstruction for the long haul to the tune of hundreds of billions of euros, noting the EU’s decision to donate 100 million euros for the reconstruction of Ukraine’s schools. The EC president said she will meet President Voldymyr Zelensky in Kyiv later today to discuss Ukraine’s access to the EU’s single market. Meanwhile, the EC is proposing a price cap for electricity companies whose costs are low, as well as fossil fuel companies raking in large profits, she said. The measure will be temporary, though she also called for “comprehensive reform” of the electricity market. Regarding the rule of law, Von der Leyen said that maintaining the rule of law in member states was the EC’s “duty and most noble role”. Conditionality in respect of EU funding would protect the EU’s budget, she said, adding that the EC will also work to protect judicial independence and draft measures to “refresh” the EU’s anti-corruption regulations. On the issue of migration, Von der Leyen said that as well as respecting fundamental human rights, the EU’s external borders must be protected. She also called for a Europe that handles migration “with respect and dignity”. All member states must take responsibility for tackling shared challenges, she said.
In his contribution to the debate, Deutsch said that Hungarians who had endured occupation by both Germany and Russia knew what it was like to fight for independence against aggression. “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I very well know what the inhuman destruction of war means. We are all on the side of those who are attacked,” he said. The EC “promised” that the EU sanctions would bring Russia to its knees when they were adopted early in the summer, he said. “They promised the sanctions would cut to the bone in Russia, not in Europe. They promised the sanctions would bring an end to the war,” he said.
“The end of the war is still nowhere in sight, but the energy bills of Europeans have skyrocketed.” Meanwhile, he added, Russia was raking in unprecedented revenues due to sky-high energy prices. “Since sanctions were introduced, inflation has soared, Europeans have become poorer, and Russia richer. Europe is on the brink of a crisis and energy shortages,” he said.