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Published on May 30, 2014
Preliminary remarks by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his press conference in Brussels

Brussels, May 27, 2014

I want to finish on Ukraine. I said that the date of 25 May would be major. It was [major] for the renewal of the European Parliament but it was [also major] for Ukraine. It’s also good that the two dates coincided. France and Europe’s whole effort – we all worked together – was to ensure that the 25 May election in Ukraine could be held, could be indisputable, and could give the President-elect a legitimacy enabling him to hold dialogue and also guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The Ukrainians thoroughly understood that it was necessary to resolve the issue in the first round and avoid three weeks going by before a president could be elected. So the goal we set ourselves has been achieved. But that doesn’t mean the crisis in Ukraine is over! President Poroshenko will therefore have to engage in dialogue, now that he’s the legitimate president. President Putin must now not just respect the verdict of the ballot box but recognize the Ukrainian President and ensure there is de-escalation. It is expected and is possible today.

On 5 June there’s going to be the G7. There are still threats of sanctions. The Commission has done its job. We have to be conscious that there’s a possibility today that things will finally de-escalate. But there must always be a safety rope. I’ve invited President Putin – I incidentally did so several weeks ago – to come to the 6 June ceremonies. We’ll have discussions there too.

I think Europe has got to realize what’s happened in Ukraine and learn from it. Firstly for its foreign policy: it must be concerned about stability, about not creating the slightest disruption – chaos in a nearby country is immediately exploited – and about ensuring that association can be understood and that help comes at the right time and not too late.

But there’s a second lesson to be learned from what’s occurred in Ukraine: it concerns Europe’s energy policy and diversifying sources and reducing dependency. This is what we’ve got to embark on.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what I’m taking away from the European Council. It was very important for France to make itself heard. It was important for Europe to understand the aspiration of French people – a large majority of French people: to move Europe forward, to believe in Europe… on condition that Europe itself believes in its future and gets itself organized to prepare for it./.

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