“Europe must help Ukraine swiftly and without unnecessary bureaucracy”

Austria’s Chancellor visits Scholz “Europe must help Ukraine swiftly and without unnecessary bureaucracy”

“Together we call upon President Putin to agree to a ceasefire now, to facilitate humanitarian aid and to participate in genuine peace negotiations,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer in Berlin on Thursday.

Federal Chancellor Scholz and Austrian Chancellor Nehammer

In a meeting in Berlin on Thursday, Scholz and Nehammer stressed their agreement to provide rapid assistance to Ukraine and its neighbours.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins

In the face of the terrible consequences of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated the Federal Government’s support. Following Austrian counterpart Karl Nehammer’s visit to Berlin on Thursday, the Federal Chancellor said that Germany and Austria agreed that “we in Europe must help Ukraine swiftly and without unnecessary bureaucracy, providing aid to the Ukrainian people and the neighbouring countries that have been hit hardest.”

Solidarity across the EU

Federal Chancellor Scholz said it was “important and good that all EU member states again made it clear at last week’s European Council meeting in Brussels that they are prepared to take in refugees, and that they will continue to provide support for Ukraine and its neighbours.”

Moldova: support conference planned

Scholz especially praised the Republic of Moldova’s exceptional commitment, noting that it had taken in the largest number of refugees in relation to the size of its population. “To put it in proportion for you, we are talking about some 350,000 refugees among a population of 3.5 million – that’s 10 percent”. Scholz underlined the scale of Moldova’s unique efforts by comparing it to Germany, where it would equal 8 million refugees in the country.

Germany would therefore work with Romania and France to organise a support conference for Moldova in the coming weeks. “Through this we aim to provide immediate and long-term support for the Republic of Moldova.”

Germany is working towards a pan-European solution

Federal Chancellor Scholz also thanked Austria for taking in 2,000 refugees from Moldova so far. Germany would also take in 2,500 people needing sanctuary from Moldova, he said. “These are key elements of a pan-European solution, and a pan-European solution of this kind is exactly what we need for this important issue.”

Energy transition to reduce dependency

Scholz also noted that intense efforts were underway to reduce dependency on fossil fuels from Russia. He stressed that the energy transition was not just a major contribution to combating climate change, but also the best way to achieve energy independence.

Facilitating EU membership prospects for the Western Balkans

The Federal Chancellor stated that Russian aggression made it necessary “to strengthen our neighbouring regions overall and to support them.” Scholz affirmed that this included clear prospects of EU membership for Western Balkan states, and that entry negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should be commenced as soon as possible.

Karl Nehammer, 49, has been Chancellor of the Republic of Austria since 6 December 2021.