Statement by European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of the meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
I am very happy to see you here in Brussels Mr Vice President.
As you remember, our last meeting took place in Warsaw. It was almost one year ago. You were assuring us, the Europeans, about the United States' full support for Ukraine and for the whole of Europe in a critical moment, as on the very same day, Putin officially declared the annexation of Crimea.
Unfortunately today, as we are standing here, together again, the situation is even more dramatic than 11 months ago. And this is why, please allow me to start with my comments on Russia and Ukraine.
The situation in Ukraine is getting worse every day.
As close friends and partners, the European Union and the United States need to continue standing shoulder to shoulder, coordinate our efforts and uphold the pressure on Russia for as long as necessary.
We cannot accept any form of aggression, especially the aggression of one state against another.
We cannot compromise on Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The European Union remains fully committed to continuing our support for the Ukrainians, helping them reform their country and become a modern, prosperous and democratic society.
Another challenge facing both our continents and the world is extremism and terrorism. The horrendous attacks in Paris and the threat of more terrorist attacks will not intimidate us.
Our determination to defend our values has only grown stronger. We need to intensify our counter-terrorism dialogue, and continue to work closely together in addressing global threats, such as the one posed by ISIL.
Finally, I want to repeat the decision of the European Council in December to call for both Europe and America to make all efforts to conclude the negotiations on a comprehensive and mutually beneficial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by the end of this year.
This is ambitious, I know, but the TTIP carries with it great potential in both economic and political terms.
Let me conclude. In all these areas, we have to resist any effort aimed at dividing the Western world. We need to tie our two continents even closer together. As the close friends and partners that we are.