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Europe must show strength as well as sorrow

Europe must show strength as well as sorrow

In opening remarks to Center for American Progress in Washington today, Ed Miliband called for the tightening of sanctions against Russia after the MH17 catastrophe.

Mr Miliband is in Washington for a meeting with national security adviser Susan Rice.

He is also speaking to the Center for American Progress.

In opening remarks to the CAP, he said:

"The shooting down of civilian airliner MH17 over the skies of the Ukraine last week was a tragedy which shocked the world.

"Britain, Europe and the world mourns the losses of our citizens, families and friends.

"We need an unimpeded and thorough investigation into what caused this disaster. We need this to begin now.

"The evidence is growing that this was not simply a tragedy but a crime.

"This is a moment of reckoning for Europe. We know enough about this disaster to know that this is a moment when Europe needs to show its strength as well as its sorrow.

"It is evident from Russia’s continuing actions in Ukraine that the international community has not done enough to show that Russian aggression cannot be allowed to stand.

"Europe’s economic well-being relies upon the upholding of international norms and international law. Our collective security requires every European country to accept its responsibility.

"European unity must not be an excuse for European inaction.

"EU foreign ministers meeting this week must take the first decisive steps to tighten and extend sanctions, not just against specific individuals, but against Russian commercial organisations, unless and until President Putin ceases all support for the separatists in Eastern Ukraine and halts the supply of arms across the Russian border.

“And as soon as the investigation into the disaster is complete, there should be an emergency meeting of the European heads of government to consider what further steps should be taken.

"This is the moment for a strong, determined and outward-looking EU to step up to its responsibilities.

"Europe and America must stand together as they have at crucial moments in the past.

"As President Obama made clear in his state visit to the UK in 2011, Europe is a cornerstone of US global engagement. Together we are the most potent catalyst for global action that there is in the world today.

"In the aftermath of the terrible tragedy of flight MH17 we must again be that catalyst for global solidarity and decisive action.

"And to achieve those ends this we need Britain at the heart of a reformed and resolute EU.

"Nothing could illustrate more starkly than the need for European and American partnership than the cloud cast globally from the events in the skies in Ukraine.

"Britain in Europe working in partnership with America is not only in all our interests, it is the best way to promote stability and prosperity across the globe."

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