Ukraine crisis returns specter of war, EU chief warns
European Parliament head Martin Shulz compares confrontation to pre-World War I era, says EU leaders feel ‘weight of history’
BRUSSELS — The Ukraine crisis has brought back the fear and risk of war in Europe, European Parliament head Martin Schulz said Thursday as EU leaders met to decide their next steps.
With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I this year, who could have imagined “that war could become a genuine possibility in a country which shares a border with the European Union?” Schulz told the opening of the summit of the 28 EU leaders.
Asked about his remarks at a press conference, Schulz said European Union leaders did feel the weight of history on them and felt that “something has changed.”
“Some people thought that war and the risk of war was no longer a topic for discussion … but if we look at events, we are talking about the risk of armed conflict,” he said.
At the same time, the situation was not like 1914 when Europe ‘sleep-walked’ into war because now countries were in “constant dialogue with each other,” he said.
The EU must send a message to show that Russia will pay a price for its actions and leaders must explain to their people the possible costs involved for them, he added.
Schulz was speaking as EU leaders considered further sanctions against Moscow just after US President Barack Obama hit high-profile Russian political and business figures with fresh measures.
Russia responded in kind only minutes later, imposing sanctions on several close Obama aides and prominent US senators, including Senator John McCain who is noted for his hard line on Moscow.