President of the European Parliament since 2022
- I want to start by commending the incredibly brave women of Ukraine who are fighting, forced to shelter their loved ones in bunkers, giving birth in metro stations and leading on the frontline. It is a testament to their courage, strength and resilience even in the worst circumstances.
- On this day, the word celebration is not really a word we could use. In Ukraine, we see women are resisting, standing up and taking up arms against their aggressor. It is a privilege to have with us a Ukrainian woman and writer whose literature and strong voice exhibits the strength of Ukrainian women in the face of oppression. These brave and resilient women serve as an inspiration to us all, as they defend the same European values that we hold.
- Now the EPP Group has requested that there be a Commission statement on the rule of law in Spain and a Commission statement on the rule of law in Malta.
(MEPs laugh) I think the first part of this session about respect we have ignored immediately after the end of the ceremony.
-  29th March 2023
- We need to re-assess the European Union’s role in this new world. We need to boost our investment in defence and innovative technologies. This is the time for us to take decisive steps to ensure the security of all Europeans. The time to build a real security and defence union and reduce our dependencies on the Kremlin.
- Ukraine has shown the world how to stand up for freedom & democracy, for our shared humanity & for our common values.
- You have led a country of extremely brave men and women fighting for freedom and democracy. I came to Ukraine not only to confirm our solidarity, not only to continue working on the wording of our resolutions, in which we say that Ukraine is part of our European family, because you are fighting for us, for fundamental principles that the European continent has upheld for centuries. I would also like to make sure that you have everything you need to win this war. Because if you win, the whole world will win.
Address to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (1 April 2022) Edit
- Thank you for inviting me to Kyiv to address the Rada. It is an honour to be here among you fellow European parliamentarians. But more than that, it is a duty for me to be here. It is a duty that I must fulfil. A responsibility to you on the frontline. To show the world that even in the darkness of war, parliamentary democracy is the light.
- I am here today, as a representative of the European Parliament, of the people of Europe, to tell you one thing. We are with you. In good times and in less good times — we are with you.
- The images we have seen around the world these last horrible months have been of destruction, of death, of innocent lives torn apart, women, children forced to abandon their homes and their lives.
But Europe and the world have also seen your courage and the defiance of Ukrainian families. The heroes of Snake Island are known across the globe. The proud warriors of Mariupol will inspire generations and generations to come.
- The EU and the world has seen : you are the defenders of your country. But you are not fighting only to protect your homes and your territory. You are fighting for what we all believe in. Freedom. Democracy. The rule of law. And here, in Ukraine, these values are not buzzwords; they are being fought for, because you know that without them, there is nothing else.
- The European Union was created to interlink the destinies of the nation states of Europe so that they could no longer engage in the kind of conflict that led, in less than thirty years, to two world wars. The European Union is a project for peace. But even above that, it is a project about freedom.
And let me say that Ukraine is Europe.
- Mariupol is a town I have never visited, but it is the name of a town that I will never ever forget. The shelling of a maternity ward and the killing of children is an act that will go down in infamy. It is an act of inhumanity that sums up the nature of the threat that you have risen to face down. And we will never forget that has happened there. Ever.
- Now, let me make three promises to you.
First of all, this invasion of your country puts Russia in direct confrontation with Europe, the international community and the rules-based world order. And it is not something that we will let Putin do unchallenged. We need more and harder sanctions. We will hold those responsible accountable for what they have committed here.
Second, the European Union recognises Ukraine’s European ambitions and your aspirations to be a candidate country for accession. And I stand before all of you here to say, that you can count on me, you can count on the European Parliament in supporting Ukraine’s path in achieving this goal. We know what blood was spilt to get here. And we will not let you down.
And we know more than ever that Ukraine looks to the European Union as its destination. We will respond with honesty and with hope. Every country has its own path — but the European Union future of Ukraine should never be in doubt.
Thirdly, we will take care of your families who are forced to flee, until the day they can safely return to their homes and rebuild their lives. And we will help you to rebuild your cities and your towns when this illegal, unprovoked and unjustified invasion is over. We have already provided assistance : financial, military and humanitarian. This will continue and this will increase.
- You did not invite this invasion. Nor did you provoke it. You did not seek a confrontation. But you have risen to meet this moment that is testament to the greatness of a people, to your courage, to your strength of character.
Now, my call is for the Europe Union to meet this moment with the same vigour. Because this must be our whatever-it-takes moment.
- The rules-based order of the world remains strong. Putin miscalculated not only the courage and resistance of your country, but the strength of the democratic order. He fundamentally mistook our debates for weakness. And he has paid an unprecedented cost. Our sanctions hurt and we must go further still.
- Millions of your country women and men have fled this country. Millions more are internally displaced and are expected to make their way to other European countries. We must be ready — but more importantly we are willing to do what is necessary to provide a future without fear for those arriving at our borders. And that willingness will remain steadfast.
- Allow me a word on the information war that we are facing. Not only do we need to bolster, strengthen our cyber-defences but we need to keep pushing back against the narrative that confronting Putin makes Europe somehow anti-Russia. Russians are standing up to Putin — and there are many — despite the threat of jail, they are on the right side of history. They are on our side.