Message by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein*
Ukraine and European priorities | The Russian invasion of Ukraine abruptly transformed attitudes and policies in Europe. Several shocks have occurred that have forced countries to reconsider their priorities.
The first shock for many – especially younger people in Europe – was that war is possible. Attitudes toward defense have changed completely. Most see a possible energy crisis as a critical challenge to European prosperity. Such a crisis would not only mean a rise in energy prices, but also a threat to energy security.
If the supply of energy to Europe were cut off, it would be a severe blow, and could show just how vulnerable highly developed economies can become. Even short blackouts can have long-term effects, hindering the delivery of essential goods. Civil protection throughout the continent should be strengthened.
The looming danger of an energy crisis also shows how important collaboration and integration are in Europe. However, that integration must be limited to areas where it is strictly necessary. Countries cannot afford to engage in unnecessary harmonization.
Europe indulged in the luxury of trying to enforce a value standard. That standard did not always include – and sometimes even neglected – the core values of individual freedom, self-responsibility, the right to life and property rights.
And while checks and balances on power are necessary, European structures (as well as leaders and the media) issued moral judgments against members like Poland and Hungary, while ignoring deficiencies in other countries. Poland was highly criticized for its policies on refugees. Now, however, it is showing a type of generosity not seen in 50 years.
We can only hope that while supporting Ukraine, Europe will realize that it is necessary to concentrate on core priorities and forget about exaggerating problems about which it is a luxury to worry. Only on this basis can Europe defend its freedom, which could also give a greater sense of security to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and the Baltic states.
Kyiv and Moscow are continuing talks and keeping open the possibility for further dialogue. This is already a good sign, and for the first time, yesterday, President Zelenskiy mentioned that these talks have become more substantive.
Both sides must still strengthen their positions. Ukraine is bravely continuing its resistance, while Russia persists in its attacks.
The battlefield positions are not changing much. The destruction, misery and casualties are terrible. Ukraine’s strength is in the determination of its armed forces and its people. Russia’s is in its potential for escalation. In fact, Russia has already escalated the conflict significantly and has recently brought in mercenaries to help its efforts.
A further escalation was Russia’s limitation of its food exports. The resulting food price inflation is a problem for the West. However, the bigger problems will be in Africa and the Middle East, severely hit by the rising costs and shortages. This could also create migratory pressure toward Europe.
Ukraine and European priorities … If we take an optimistic view, we can see the strengthening of both countries’ positions as setting the stage for more negotiations in the short term. Those talks could then open up further opportunities for a resolution.
*Prince Michael of Liechtenstein has completed his trainings at the Economic University of Vienna (Austria) with a Magister der Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften (M.A. in Business Administration). During his studies he took various practical training periods / work with banks and manufacturing companies in Canada, the US and Belgium.
From 1978 to 1987 he worked for Nestlé SA in the fields of controlling, management and marketing on various markets in Europe and Africa.
In 1987 he returned to Liechtenstein where he took over the position of a Managing Director with Industrie- und Finanzkontor Ets. Vaduz, which today is a leading trust company with tradition and expertise in the long-term and multi-generational preservation of wealth, family values and businesses. Today, Prince Michael of Liechtenstein is Executive Chairman of Industrie- und Finanzkontor Ets. as well as Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG Vaduz.
Prince Michael of Liechtenstein is member of various professional organisations such as STEP. Furthermore, he is board member of the Liechtenstein Institute of Professional Trustees and Fiduciaries as well as Chairman of the European Center of Austrian Economics Foundation ( ECAEF), Vaduz. He is also co-founder of the International Institute of Longevity and Longevity Center.