Den retoriske situation
Formand for EU-Kommissionen, Ursula von der Leyen, afholder den 1. marts 2022 en tale, hvori hun argumenterer for sanktioner mod Rusland og en hjælp til Ukrainerne. En uge før, den 24. februar 2022, holdt Ruslands præsident, Vladimir Putin, en tale, hvor han annoncerede en “særlig militæroperation” i Ukraine. En krig er nu brudt ud i Ukraine, og EU skal til dette møde finde deres rolle i krigen.
I salen sidder EU-parlamentarikere, som skal overbevises om sanktionerne mod Rusland og om at hjælpe Ukraine, som er de en del af EU – på trods af at dette selvfølgelig ikke er tilfældet. Flere blandt publikum sidder med ukrainske flag og skilte, hvorpå der står “I stand with Ukraine” for at vise deres opbakning til ukrainerne. Tidligere samme dag holdt Ukraines præsident, Volodymyr Zelenskyj, en tale til EU-parlamentet, hvor han blandt andet argumenterede for, at EU ville stå stærkere med Ukraine. Det er relevant, fordi han i sin tale allerede har italesat Ukraine og EU som en forenet instans, og von der Leyen senere i sin tale lægger vægt på, at Ukraine skal hjælpes, som var de en del af det stærke EU.
Hvorfor er denne tale interessant?
Denne tale er interessant, fordi den blev afholdt en uge efter Ruslands invasion af Ukraine; en tid hvor usikkerheden om, hvilken rolle EU skulle spille i krigen, var absolut. Ukraine er ikke medlem af EU, men von der Leyen tegner et billede af ukrainerne som “en af os”, der skal hjælpes på lige fod med alle andre EU-lande. Der argumenteres derfor for en stærk indsats, der skal hjælpe os alle med at løsrive os fra de russiske tøjler.
Gennem brug af billedsprog, bemærkelsesværdige pronominer og gentagelser får von der Leyen skabt et billede af krigens rollefordeling. Hun etablerer et tydeligt antitetisk “os-mod-dem-forhold” mellem det forenede EU, NATO og samarbejdslandene overfor Putin som det konkrete fjendebillede. Ukraine placeres som en unægtelig del af EU, der både deler geografisk placering og værdier. Rusland (og her især Putin) skal derfor behandles som en konkret trussel mod vores frihed, demokrati og rettigheder. Talen er interessant, fordi von der Leyen foretager et aktivt valg om at tegne Putin som det håndgribelige fjendebillede mod det stærkt forenede fællesskab.
Madam President of the European Parliament, Mr President of the Council, High Representative, Mr President of the Ukraine, dear Volodymyr, Mr Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, My Honourable Members,
War has returned to Europe. Almost thirty years after the Balkan Wars, and over half a century after Soviet troops marched into Prague and Budapest, civil defence sirens again went off in the heart of a European capital. Thousands of people fleeing from bombs, camped in underground stations – holding hands, crying silently, trying to cheer each other up. Cars lined up towards Ukrainian Western borders, and when many of them ran out of fuel, people picked up their children and their backpacks and marched for tens of kilometres towards our Union. They sought refuge inside our borders, because their country wasn’t safe any longer. Because inside Ukraine, a gruesome death count has begun. Men, women, children are dying, once again, because a foreign leader, President Putin, decided that their country, Ukraine, has no right to exist. And we will never ever let that happen and never ever accept that.
This is a moment of truth for Europe. Let me quote the editorial of one Ukrainian newspaper, the Kyiv Independent, published just hours before the invasion began, and I quote: ‘This is not just about Ukraine. It’s a clash of two worlds, two polar sets of values' end of quote. They are so right. This is a clash between the rule of law and the rule of the gun; between democracies and autocracies; between a rules-based order and a world of naked aggression. How we respond today to what Russia is doing will determine the future of the international system. The destiny of Ukraine is at stake, but our own fate also lies in the balance. We must show the power that lies in our democracies; we must show the power of people that choose their independent paths, freely and democratically. This is our show of force.
And today, a Union of almost half a billion people has mobilized for Ukraine. The people of Europe are demonstrating in front of Russian embassies all across our Union. Many of them have opened their homes to Ukrainians – fleeing from Putin's bombs. And let me thank especially Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary for welcoming these women, men and children. Europe will be there for them, not only in the first days, but also in the weeks and months to come. That must be our promise altogether. And this is why we are proposing to activate the temporary protection mechanism to provide them with a secure status and access to schools, medical care and work. They deserve it. We need to do that now. And we know this is only the beginning. More Ukrainians will need our protection and solidarity. We are and we will be there for them.
Our Union is showing a unity of purpose that makes me proud. At the speed of light, the European Union has adopted three waves of heavy sanctions against Russia's financial system, its high-tech industries and its corrupt elite. and This is the largest sanctions package in our Union's history. We do not take these measures lightly, but we feel we had to act. These sanctions will take a heavy toll on the Russian economy and on the Kremlin. We are disconnecting key Russian banks from the SWIFT network. We also banned the transactions of Russia's central bank, the single most important financial institution in Russia. And this paralyses billions of foreign reserves, turning off the tap on Russia's and Putin's war. We have to end this financing of his war.
And second, we target important sectors of the Russian economy. We are making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its oil refineries; to repair and modernize its air fleet; and to access many important technologies it needs to build a prosperous future. We have closed our skies to Russian aircraft, including the private jets of oligarchs. And make no mistake: We will freeze their other assets as well – be it yachts or fancy cars or luxury prosperities. We will freeze that altogether.
And thirdly, in another unprecedented step,we are suspending the licences of the Kremlin's propaganda machine. The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and all of their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies on to justify Putin's war and to divide our Union. These are unprecedented actions by the European Union and our partners in response to of an unprecedented aggression by Russia.
Each one of these steps has been closely coordinated with our partners and allies,the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Norway, but also, for example, Japan, South Korea and Australia. All of these days, you see that more than 30 countries – representing well over half of the world's economy – have also announced sanctions and export controls on Russia. And if Putin was seeking to divide the European Union, to weaken NATO, and to break the international community, he has achieved exactly the opposite. We are more united than ever and we will stand up in this war, that is for clear sure that we will overcome and we will prevail. We are united and we stay united.
I am well aware that these sanctions will come at a cost for our economy, too. I know this, and I want to speak honestly to the people of Europe. We have endured two years of pandemic. And we all wished that we could focus on our economic and social recovery. But I believe that people of Europe understand very well that we must stand up against this cruel aggression. Yes, protecting our liberty comes at a price. But this is a defining moment. And this is the cost we are willing to pay. Because freedom is priceless, Honourable Members. This is our principle: Freedom is priceless.
Our investments today will make us more independent tomorrow. And I’m thinking, first and foremost, about our energy security. We simply cannot rely so much on a supplier that explicitly threatens us. And this is why we reached out to other global suppliers. And they responded. Norway is stepping up. In January, we had the record supply of LNG gas. We’re building new LNG terminals and working on interconnectors. But in the long run, it is our switch to renewables and hydrogen that will make us truly independent. We have to accelerate the green transition. Because every kilowatt-hour of electricity Europe generates from solar, wind, hydropower or biomass reduces our dependency on Russian gas and other energy sources. This is a strategic investment. And my Honourable Members, this is a strategic investment, because on top, less dependency on Russian gas and other fossil fuel sources also means less money for the Kremlin's war chest. This is also a truth.
We are resolute, Europe can rise up to the challenge. The same is true on defence. European security and defence has evolved more in the last six days than in the last two decades. Most Member States have promised deliveries of military equipment to Ukraine. Germany announced that it will meet the 2% goal of NATO as soon as possible. And our Union, for the first time ever, is using the European budget to purchase and deliver military equipment to a country that is under attack. EUR 500 million for the European Peace Facility, to support Ukraine's defence. As a first batch, we will now also match this by at least EUR 500 million from the EU budget to deal with the humanitarian consequences of this tragic war, both in the country and for the refugees.
This is a watershed moment for our Union. We cannot take our security and the protection of people for granted. We have to stand up for it. We have to invest in it. We have to carry our fair share of the responsibility.
And this crisis is changing Europe. But Russia has also reached a crossroad. The actions of the Kremlin are severely damaging the long-term interests of Russia and its people. More and more Russians understand this as well. They are marching for peace and freedom. And how does the Kremlin respond to this? By arresting thousands of them.But ultimately, the longing for peace and freedom cannot be silenced. There is another Russia besides Putin's tanks. And we extend our hand of friendship to this other Russia. Be assured, they have our support.
In these days, independent Ukraine is facing a darkest hour. At the same time, the Ukrainian people are holding up the torch of freedom for all of us. They are showing immense courage. They are defending their lives. But they are also fighting for universal values and they are willing to die for them. President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are a true inspiration. And when we last spoke, he told me again about his people's dream to join our Union. Today, the European Union and Ukraine are already closer than ever before. There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps. But I am sure: Nobody in this hemicycle can doubt that a people that stands up so bravely for our European values belongs in our European family.
And therefore, Honourable Members, I say: Long live Europe. And long live a free and independent Ukraine.
Det siger retorikerne
Ursula von der Leyen formår i sin tale at skabe et stærkt EU i en tid, hvor Europa i sandhed er i krise. Gennem gentagelser, antiteser og pronominer tegner hun et konkret, dæmoniseret fjendebillede af Putin mod Ukraine; et land der til forveksling ligner mange EU-lande. Den polariserede opstilling af de to lande er vigtig, fordi den viser krigens situation og rollefordeling. Von der Leyen definerer altså krigens hovedparter samt konfliktens udgangspunkt, som for hende udspiller sig i Putins neglekt af Ukraine som et selvstændigt land. Hun bruger pronominet “we” 46 gange for at vise overfor sit publikum, at denne krig, trods geografisk placering i Ukraine, er en krig mod Europa og dets værdier – stoppes krigen ikke nu, vil den infiltrere EU.
Medmenneskelighed er en essentiel appel for von der Leyen. Det kommer særligt til udtryk i indledningen med det patosladede billede af det krigsramte Ukraine. Publikum efterlades med en overbevisning om, at det eneste rigtige at gøre, er at hjælpe. På den måde fungerer medmenneskelighed som et belæg for EU’s involvering i krigen.
Von der Leyen forklarer sit publikum, og foregriber hermed et muligt kritikpunkt, at man i krigens hede må tage nogle valg, der ikke altid afspejler de demokratiske værdier. Dette ses, da hun fortæller, at der er blevet lukket ned for de russiske medier Sputnik og Russia Today, som spreder propaganda i stedet for rigtige nyheder. Det er ikke i tråd med ytringsfrihed som kerneværdi, men hun forklarer det som et nødvendigt valg i en krigstid: “These are unprecedented actions by the European Union and our partners in response to an unprecedented aggression by Russia”. Som Hanne Roer skriver i Danske taler: “Hvad der var uret i fredstid, bliver ret i krigstid” (s. 112).
Von der Leyen taler netop til et publikum, som både skal være klar til at krydse (lande)grænser og gå på kompromis med demokratiske værdier for at genvinde freden. Ukraine er ikke en del af EU, men det er nødvendigt, at vi anser dem således. Sanktionerne er voldsomme tiltag, men de er nu engang nødvendige. Krig er dyr, og fred er måske dyrere, men det er nødvendigt at prioritere. Ja, fred er ligefrem “priceless”.
Med sin tale baner Ursula von der Leyen vejen for et samarbejde mellem EU og Ukraine, som skal svække Rusland og styrke verdensfreden. Og hun gør det fremragende.