The resolution calls for restrictions on Russian oil and gas, and increased arms flows to Ukraine
The European Union’s parliament on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly for a resolution condemning Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine and calling for restrictions on Russian energy imports. However, a minority of MEPs voted against the resolution, as it contains explicit commitments to the NATO alliance and “militarization”.
The Resolution on Russian aggression against Ukraine was adopted by 637 votes to 13, with 26 abstentions. Among the resolution’s 46 calls and demands are condemnations of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a demand for “broadening the scope of sanctions” and demands for a ban on Russian oil and gas imports, and the expulsion of Russia from SWIFT banking networks.
However, the resolution also contains a measure that “welcomes the unity” between the EU and NATO, “encourages the strengthening of NATO’s enhanced presence going forward” and “calls for the launch of joint military exercises”. Another measure calls for increased “cyber security support for Ukraine”, while another “calls on the Member States to speed up the supply of defensive weapons to Ukraine.”
Among the minority of MPs who voted against the resolution were Ireland’s Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, both well-known left-wing anti-war figures. In a joint statement, Daly and Wallace said that although they “wholeheartedly support” the condemnation of Russia, they “sought to remove” elements that support increased defense spending, arms shipments and partnerships with NATO, among other lines.
“We have consistently opposed the militarization of the EU, the enlargement of NATO and the erosion of Ireland’s neutrality within the EU’s common defense structures,” the statement said. “Our position is in the tradition of Irish neutrality and international support for peace.”
The EU’s decision on Sunday to send € 500 million ($ 555 million) in weapons and aid to the Ukrainian military was described by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as “a watershed” for the bloc. Five EU countries are neutral – Austria, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Sweden – and the decision could potentially call into question that neutrality.
Finland, which borders Russia, has chosen to supply Ukraine with weapons and legislators there are already discussing NATO membership. Despite the fact that both countries participated in a NATO summit last week, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said that “in a situation like this, it is important that Sweden’s long-standing security policy” to avoid military alliances “remains firm.”