Europe stands at the side of Ukraine, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday as she slammed Russia for waging an “atrocious war” and leading “senseless aggression” in the country that has seen, and continues to witness, huge damage amid the conflict.. Her message – in a video address – came as the continent marks Europe Day on Monday that had its origin in an idea that “war should be unthinkable” between the nations of the continent.
“Today our continent encounters shadows of the past we thought we had left behind long back. An atrocious war, senseless aggression and destroyed cities. Millions of innocents fleeing their homes. A people desperately struggling to determine its own future,” the European Union chief is heard saying in the 2 minute and 20 seconds long video
“At the same time, the Kremlin’s invasion reminds us why we’re celebrating Europe Day. The day when a peaceful, prosperous Europe was born. 72 years later, Europe is stronger and more united than ever.”
Her message coincided with a bombing in Ukraine that killed more than 60 people, more than two months after the war began over what Russia has justified as a pursuit to “denazify” the country.
“We are recovering from the Covid crisis. Member states have already received 100 billion euros from our recovery fund. Vast investments are securing millions of jobs and creating new jobs every day. We are working hard to protect the climate.”
Europe achieved all this “because we were united and determined”. “And that’s why I am optimistic that we can overcome the challenge posed by the war in Ukraine. Millions have opened their doors to welcome refugees. Millions have sent more food and clothes or made a donation. More than ever before, Europeans feel that they belong to one European family, and that fills my heart with pride. So Happy Birthday Europe!” the EU chief is further heard saying.
Europe Day marks the signing of the ‘Schuman Declaration’ on May 9, 1950. This year it’s being observed as the continent witnesses one of the worst conflicts since the World War-2.
“An ambitious plan to secure long-term peace in post-war Europe that is considered the beginning of what is now the European Union,” says the official website. “The Schuman Declaration was presented by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. It proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production. The ECSC (founding members: France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) was the first of a series of supranational European institutions that would ultimately become today’s “European Union”,” it reminds.
Despite criticism and an ever-expanding list of punitive measures, Russia’s Vladimir :Putin on Monday will lead the Victory Day celebrations in the country to mark the victory in the World-War-2 over Germany. The country is set to demonstrate its military parade in extravagant parades as Ukraine continues to resist the assault, entering its 11th week.