War has returned to Europe - is the EU finally waking up?

16 March 2022, 14:00

In the EU, our generation grew up with peace, democracy and prosperity. Something we took for granted. Something we thought will prevail. We had learnt from our mistakes in the past. Or so we believed. 

On 24 February 2022 Russia started a full-blown war of aggression against Ukraine. The indiscriminate bombing of European cities, the killing of innocent people in Ukraine today is reminiscent of WWII. Not only did Russia’s criminal regime start a war on a peaceful European democracy, it declared war on our European values. On everything we stand for. On peace, democracy and human rights. 

 

And yet, it should not come as a surprise. Already in 2014 Russia illegally annexed Crimea and supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine to wage an 8-year war that killed over 14,000 Ukrainians. Already in 2000 Putin started bombing cities to the ground. First Grozny in 2000, then Aleppo in 2016, today Mariupol. What’s next? 

The response by the EU and its allies following the Russian invasion has been strong. Unprecedented sanctions were imposed and full support voiced for Ukraine. It seems like Europe is waking up, realizing that Ukraine’s fate is our fate, that Ukrainians are fighting for our freedom and for our democracy. 

But is the EU response enough? Is it enough to stop Putin? Is it enough to help our Ukrainian friends? Is it enough to defend peace and democracy in Europe? What can and should the EU member states do to stand up against aggressors like Putin and to protect and preserve the values and ideas we stand for? 

We are looking forward to discussing these questions and more with Rasmus Nørlem, the head of the Danish NGO “Democracy in Europe” (DEO) on March 16, at 14:30 CET. 

This event is supported by Europanævnet and TuborgFondet

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