The European Union does not want to act unrealistic, so it cannot guarantee cheap energy for the coming winter. However, people will have enough fuel and food, said European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová in an interview with German media group RND.
Jourová sharply criticized not only the Russian invasion of Ukraine but also Russian propaganda, which she said had turned the truth upside down. In the fight against propaganda, the representative of the EU executive branch promised vigorous action, but at the same time she said that the union does not intend to establish any censorship office or ministry of truth because it does not want to lower itself to the Russian level.
“We must not promise anything we cannot keep. Lying to people would be a fatal mistake. But we can guarantee that there will be enough energy for heating and enough food,” Jourová commented on rapidly rising prices.
“However, we cannot promise low energy prices. Therefore, we must rely on the member states to mitigate the effects on those who have little or no money,” the politician said, adding that there was a need to ask people to save energy as much as possible.
“It is outrageous what the Kremlin has been doing, not only since the beginning of the war but for years. The state media in Russia is no longer media; instead, the Kremlin uses it as a weapon,” Jourová claimed.
Jourová says the way to fight propaganda is through better communication so that it is clear to people, for example, that rising energy and food prices are not the result of sanctions but stem from Russian aggression. She also wants better protection for journalists working in Ukraine, as Europe needs evidence of war crimes.
Jourová also said that she was negotiating with Facebook, Google, and other global online platforms to intervene against the Russian government and not just stand idly by. According to her, internet companies must control what is happening on their networks.
“I hope to sign a new EU code of conduct in mid-June. However, it must not be enforced by a censor. If we give power to one board to define truth and lies, it will fail. The EU will not set up a ministry of truth. We are not like Russia,” she said, adding that the code is voluntary, but regulators will check whether or not technology companies are complying with it.
In the interview, Jourová also said that the EU did not want to make concessions in disputes over values and the rule of law with member states in exchange for, say, supporting Ukrainian refugees. At the same time, the European Commission wants to help the countries most affected by the refugee crisis. That applies primarily to Poland but also to Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
“These countries should get new money to take better care of refugees as Greece received them during the refugee crisis in 2015 and 2016,” Jourová stressed.
Jourová praised Germany for joining in with military aid. On the contrary, she expressed her disappointment with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who, according to Jourová, continues to deepen the gap between Budapest and Brussels.
“We are not at war with Hungary, but Orbán must simply accept that the EU cares about compliance with rules,” the commissioner said on the dispute with Budapest over the rule of law.