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Published on March 7, 2014
Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at the extraordinary European Council (excerpts)

Brussels, March 6, 2014

THE PRESIDENT – The European Council is going to speak for the EU on the Ukraine issue by giving its support to the Ukrainian government in conducting economic reforms and organizing the presidential election.

Then there will be pressure – the strongest possible – on Russia to begin a de-escalation process. As part of the pressure, there is of course the possible use of sanctions; but pressure to do what? What are we seeking? Not to increase tensions once again, but on the contrary to open up the path of dialogue.

That’s what we’ve already done – in Paris yesterday – and I think it was a useful first stage. Europe must now exert strong enough pressure to reduce the tension, open up the path of dialogue and finally enable Ukraine to be able to choose its destiny.

Q. – Not everyone takes that line – Poland, Lithuania…

THE PRESIDENT – We must all be together. In order to be effective, all Europeans must speak in the same way, with the same determination and the same goals. What I’m doing on France’s behalf I’m doing for Europe, so that we can exert the necessary pressure to open up the path of dialogue, mediation and negotiation. That’s what I told Vladimir Putin when I spoke to him on the telephone a few days ago. I repeated it to his foreign minister, and we’re going to continue. (…)./.

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