In its Resolution on War in Ukraine and its economic, social and environmental impact adopted on Thursday, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) strongly condemns the ongoing unilateral aggression against Ukraine ordered by the President of the Russian Federation. The EESC urges to step up humanitarian actions to support the Ukrainian people and calls for an immigration policy that ensures no single country bears a disproportionate burden.
The EESC also points out the challenges Europe is faced with as a consequence of the war and calls on EU leaders to take action, especially on migration policy, inflation, rising energy prices, on delivering a sustainable food system, on reducing dependencies and on building Europe's strategic and technological autonomy.
"The war and all related measures, namely sanctions on Russia, will come with a price tag. If we take our European values seriously and if we want others to take Europe seriously, we must be prepared to pay this price. The EU was founded on the power of law, not on the law of power and we must defend it. We welcome the action of European companies that have decided to withdraw from the Russian market and we encourage other companies to join them in placing humanity and solidarity above short-term economic interests. We need to maintain our solidarity and further develop common European responses in order to mitigate the negative economic and social impacts of this terrible war”, EESC president Christa Schweng said.
"Putin’s war on Ukraine is horrific and barbaric. We welcome the humanitarian actions taken so far, but in our resolution we also urge Member States to do more. Putin is purposely creating a humanitarian crisis to use it as a weapon against the EU in the hope of creating divisions amongst us as has happened in the past," said Stefano Mallia, president of the EESC Employers' Group. "The EU economy has the capacity to absorb the influx of people from Ukraine if the resettlement is managed properly. European labour ministries must work closely with companies, recruiters, and job-matching services to ensure that skilled workers are quickly placed. The war in Ukraine will have dire consequences for all. Political leaders have to be clear in their communication with citizens and explain the cost of war and underscore that peace has a price and we must all be ready to pay that price."
Oliver Röpke, President of Workers' Group said: "It is time for the EU to actively engage in a real peace process, starting with a cease-fire and followed by meaningful negotiations. Meanwhile, we must do all we can to alleviate the massive humanitarian and social crisis: with the full implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive, the EU must guarantee to all the refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine access to the labour market, housing, health care, education and welfare support. Moreover, a new social and economic crisis must be avoided, and speculators on food and oil prices must be stopped. This war should not be excuse for a relapse into austerity measures and fiscal rules '.
Séamus Boland, President of the Diversity Europe Group, said: "In the resolution, we salute citizens and civil society organisations which have selflessly taken great risks to help refugees. We insist on the necessity for the EU to live up to its ultimate objective, which is the preservation of peace. This entails maintaining EU solidarity and generosity towards the people of Ukraine, at the same time as protecting our European borders. However, we must also not forget the Russian citizens, who have seen their political, social and economic rights completely trampled upon by the regime of Putin and who are now fleeing the country in their thousands."