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Published on March 21, 2014
Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, on his arrival at the European Council

Brussels, March 20, 2014

What has happened in Ukraine, and more specifically in Crimea, is unacceptable. It can’t be tolerated that borders are moved and a region passes from one country to another, without the international community being required to act.

This is what Europe must do. It had warned about this. Sanctions are therefore going to be decided, particularly vis-à-vis a number of key figures, on [the basis of] their individual situations and their financial assets.

Political relations will also be suspended, since there was supposed to be a meeting between the European Union and Russia. It can’t take place under these conditions.

We shall also have to envisage other sanctions if there’s an escalation.
The principle of firmness must prevail, but the principle of discussion too.

If Russia agrees to begin discussions, if the de-escalation can now be confirmed, then no further sanctions will be adopted. But, conversely, if there’s an increase in illegitimate claims, if there are troop operations, if there are threats, then there will be further sanctions.
We’re moving on to a new phase: that of individual sanctions. We’re preparing others should the situation deteriorate.

The individual sanctions are going to be discussed here. They’ll have to concern those people who have played a role – in Ukraine or Russia – in causing what’s happening today.

Diplomacy and the economy go hand in hand. If there’s no threat, including to the economy, then there can be no place for diplomacy.

Diplomacy means discussion, it means negotiation. In order for there to be discussion and negotiation, there must be pressure. That’s why economic sanctions, even if they’re not decided on today, must be envisaged and must, in any case, be prepared. But for the European Council meeting today and indeed tomorrow, it’s individual sanctions that must be adopted. Thank you./.

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