The Party of European Socialists brings together the Socialist, Social Democratic and Labour Parties of the European  Union.  The PES  Congress took place in Berlin recently and aadopted a resolution which covered the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Also in attendance was SD Platform from Ukraine. Extracts from the Congress resolution are published below – full copies available here:(EnglishFrenchGermanSpanish)

CHANGE FOR A RULES-BASED MULTILATERAL SYSTEM

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is not only an attack against the sovereignty of Ukraine, but also against the European peace order and European values. As Europeans and as social democrats, we must lead the response to this threat to the very foundations our European Union is built upon. Our answer will be solid, and it will be firmly anchored in values. We express our support to the Ukrainian people. Our commitment to supporting Ukraine’s right to full sovereignty within the borders recognized by international law is a given. We will continue to support them in every way we can, by supporting their defence capabilities and by supporting the Ukrainian people who have stayed at home or have been forced to flee as a consequence of this war and of the resulting humanitarian crisis.

The PES calls on the international community to prepare an assistance and recovery plan for Ukraine to support Ukraine’s economy, its institutions and public services, and the reconstruction of its destroyed infrastructure. The European Union must lead this reconstruction effort to help redress and rebuild what has been destroyed. A basic tenet of the global balance has been that borders do not change through war or violence. Putin’s reactionary denial of that principle is trying to bring the world many decades back. We will continue to support tough sanctions until Russian forces withdraw completely from Ukraine and a just peace is re-established. We underline EU unity in addressing the war and its consequences.

Beyond Ukraine, we are also deeply concerned by the all-out authoritarian turn in Russia, and the attacks against democratic forces, human rights defenders and media in the country and abroad. Furthermore, we denounce the harsh repression against the democratic opposition in Belarus, and the support provided by the dictatorship to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We also stand ready to support other regions of the world against the fallout of this war, notably when it comes to ensuring global food security, especially for the most vulnerable in the Global South. We need to continue working to increase public and strategic communication efforts to counter Russian disinformation and anti-EU propaganda. Not only is the current food crisis not caused by the EU or the sanctions imposed on Russia – which do not ban imports of Russian agricultural goods or fertilizers, nor the payment for such products – but, on the contrary, the food crisis has been caused by the war started and waged by Russia against Ukraine. The EU is doing more than anyone in the world to help those countries affected by Russia’s invasion address its consequences. For food security alone, the EU has set aside EUR 7.7 billion until 2024 and we, the social democrats, will support the extension of this aid, as needed. The crisis in Ukraine shows how necessary it is to sustainably change our food system.

An effective way to tackle this emergency is to invest in climate-resilient food systems in collaboration with small-scale farmers and fishers. We pay special attention to those areas in the world that are sensitive to famine. As Europeans, we are proud of being among the staunchest supporters of the International Criminal Court as an independent body that impartially investigates and prosecutes war crimes committed by individuals, driven by the rule of law and not by the rule of arms, and of an ad hoc international tribunal to investigate and prosecute crimes committed during the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Europe has taken bold action to do away with the reliance on energy supplies from Russia and to find alternative sources. The EU must ensure our strategic autonomy, less dependence on other countries, and at the same time guarantee energy that is clean and affordable for all. This is a radical shift with broad consequences, but one that is both urgent and necessary. The Green Deal is central in the effort to achieve Europe’s green strategic autonomy.

CHANGE FOR THE PROTECTION OF PEOPLE IN NEED

The war in Ukraine has displaced millions to the EU and other neighbouring countries of Ukraine. We are proud of the continued commitment of Europeans to offering asylum and protection to those who need it. This is not the first time in recent years that the EU has seen massive arrivals of people fleeing war and persecution. The right to protection and asylum needs to be universal, irrespective of origin or any other consideration. European nations and the EU have a particularly strong, shared obligation towards refugees from our own European region, which was demonstrated by the EU’s response toward Ukrainian refugees. However, this must never lead to the application of double standards when it comes to offering asylum, protection and humane treatment to people fleeing conflicts and persecution, no matter their origins. The unity with which EU countries and citizens have responded to the Ukrainian crisis, and the quick activation of the Temporary Protection Mechanism, prove our point that with policies based on solidarity, we can deal even with the biggest of crises. Particular attention must be paid to the protection of children and women, who constitute the majority of displaced refugees from Ukraine. As hundreds of thousands of displaced families in vulnerable situations search for way to support themselves far from home, the risks of trafficking, sexual exploitation, gender-based violence, and conflict related sexual violence is very high. It is also critical to ensure access to mainstream education as well as vocational education and training to those still in learning environments to help them overcome the trauma experienced and regain a semblance of normal lives.

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