Our strength lies in Europe’s unity and resolve. When the Russian President unleashed his brutal war of aggression against Ukraine three months ago, he underestimated not only Ukraine’s resolve but that of Europe. We Europeans stand firmly by the side of the Ukrainians, who are defending both their country and the European value system. And the more united Europe stands in the face of this massive breach of international law, the more isolated Russia becomes.
In the Baltic Sea region in particular, where we have been committed for decades to dialogue with Russia and to regional cooperation, there is now a watershed in security policy. It was never planned for Sweden and Finland to join NATO now – but Russia has left them no other choice. They are a real gain for our Alliance. We will do our utmost to support our partners during this transition – and they already have our complete solidarity. After decades of extremely close cooperation, this moving and historic step also illustrates northern Europe’s integration in terms of security policy.
From 1 July 2022, Germany will assume the rotating Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and thus responsibility for a region which for many Germans is above all a popular holiday destination. However, it also has huge potential for our security and for future energy supplies. We want to use our Presidency to resolutely drive forward with cooperation on offshore wind energy. Because by generating electricity from wind and other renewables, we are not only freeing ourselves from Russian energy imports, but also fighting global warming. Phasing out fossil energy is therefore a necessity in terms not only of climate policy, but also security policy.