April 30, 2014
Barroso Discusses Europe’s Unity in Light of Ukraine Crisis, TTIP, and EU Elections
Testing Europe's Unity
Addressing the economic sanctions implemented by the European Union against key Russian individuals involved in the crisis, President Barroso argued that the sanctions are an important way of demonstrating the Russian leadership the consequences of its actions, subsequently reaching de-escalation of the conflict. The European Union as Russia’s largest trading partner has already been able to have an impact on Russian economy as crucial investment decisions have been stopped, Russian economic growth has fallen, and its credit ratings have been downgraded. The European Union has also been successful in coordinating these sanctions with the United States, particularly through the newly established G7, turning the sanctions regime into a general transatlantic movement. However, as several member states of the European Union remain dependent on Russian energy exports, President Barroso said that the European Commission will need to continue promote the idea of energy security. First steps towards a new energy security program have already been made, as the European Union recently agreed to diversify its sources of energy supply through a new southern energy corridor.
President Barroso also addressed the importance of continued negotiations on the TTIP agreement. He emphasized his continuing support for the agreement, arguing that it as the largest trade and investment agreement can have a transformative role not only for the European Union and the United States, but also for the global economic order. Regarding the upcoming European Parliament elections in May, President Barroso voiced his strong belief in the prevailing of the moderate, pro-European parties, viewing the anti-European sentiments in some member states as a normal phenomenon in times of financial insecurity.
The opening panel of the second day of “Toward a Europe Whole and Free” was moderated by the Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe. The conference celebrates the historic enlargements of NATO and the European Union and considers how best to sustain Europe’s path toward peace and prosperity despite the most dangerous challenge to that vision since the Cold War.