This collective appeal was originally published by Encompass (in English) and European Pravda (in Ukrainian) on 11 December 2023, by Le Monde (in French) on 13 December 2023, by El País (in Spanish) and Il Foglio (in Italian) on 15 December 2023.
Alarm bells are ringing. While Ukrainian forces are struggling on the frontline, unequipped for a long war of attrition, Russia is cranking up its arms production, Europe is falling behind on its promise of ammunition deliveries, and the US, with its upcoming election, is threatening to end its military aid.
Against this backdrop, some believe that the most reasonable option is to force Ukraine to make concessions and end the war.
Today, we - think-tankers who have been working on European security for many years - make a solemn appeal to the citizens of Europe and their leaders.
Abandoning Ukraine would render Europe terribly vulnerable. We would not return to the Europe of 2021. We would, instead, fall back to a state of permanent insecurity. Europe would be profoundly weakened by the loss of the Ukrainian bulwark and the loss of mutual trust between European states. And we would face an empire emboldened by the demonstration that it can strengthen itself through aggression. It would be a return to the Europe of the 1930s.
Abandonment is not inevitable. Europe does possess the economic resources to confront Russia. The most urgent measure is to coordinate a vast industrial mobilisation to supply more arms and ammunitions to Ukraine, and eventually, to outproduce Russia.
The EU in particular has shown how successful it can be when it pools its resources through the joint procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. In 2021, it had signed €71 billion worth of contracts securing up to 4.6 billion doses. This example must be followed up today. In this way, Russia and its supporters will understand that the EU also has staying power.
If we fail to make armament efforts today, we would have to make them tomorrow, and—if Russia achieves its objectives in Ukraine—under significantly more difficult and threatening conditions.
And we would have lost precious time.
If we commit ourselves fully to guarantee Ukrainians a European future, Russia would be no match for us. Russia’s strength rests largely on our indecision.
In his speeches, known as the ‘Philippics’, the ancient orator Demosthenes called on the Athenians not to remain passive in the face of King Philip II of Macedonia’s expansionism. He urged them that they support those who were under Macedonians’ attack and that they mount their resistance by producing weapons and mobilising the whole of Greece.
For Demosthenes, what was at stake was the survival of the Greece of free and democratic cities. For us, the stakes are just as existential. The survival of a free and democratic Europe depends on Ukrainian victory.
My name is Pierre Haroche and I am a specialist in European integration and European security.
In this blog I present my thoughts on EU democracy, defence and identity. If you are interested in my proposals, do not hesitate to get in touch!
My book (in French) is a commented anthology of literary texts on the idea of Europe, since Antiquity.
Writers, before politicians and civil servants, have made Europe by invoking it. They made it through their vision, their sensitivity, their taste. Europe is an entity that cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts, but encompasses them. From ancient myths to contemporary issues, a journey through an uncertain continent in the company of Hesiod, Ovid, Victor Hugo, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Mann, Stefan Zweig, Henry James, Albert Cohen, Aurélien Bellanger, Orhan Pamuk, Laurent Gaudé and many others.