European Lawmaker Berates EU Strategy Against Putin in Viral Video

A video of lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt criticizing the European Union's approach to dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone viral.

The Belgian Member of European Parliament (MEP) shared the video on his Twitter page on Wednesday. It has been viewed over 2.5 million times in that time.

"Your strategy of incremental sanctions doesn't work. Cannot work. That's why 212 members of Parliament demand a special #EUCO meeting to decide on full sanctions immediately," Verhofstadt wrote as a caption.

While speaking to other MEPs at the European Council, Verhofstadt argued more stringent sanctions needed to be introduced.

He said targeting Russian oligarchs was not currently effective and the EU should focus on targeting the people around the Russian president.

"You know why your strategy doesn't work? Because progressive packages of sanctions, with an autocrat, doesn't work," Verhofstadt said during his speech.

"That works with a democracy, with democrats who have a public opinion, a real public opinion.

"In Russia, there is no longer a real public opinion. The reality is that it doesn't work because the fifth package is, what, coal? It's ridiculous. It's only three percent of imports from Russia."

The MEP also criticized the impact the sanctions were having on Russian oligarchs and called for more intense measures.

"The oligarchs, yes, we extend a little bit the oligarchs. The oligarchs will escape finally the sanctions or lose a little bit of their money.

"You need to tackle the 6,000 people around Putin, the real people working with Putin.

"We have the list, Alexei Navalny, the foundation of Navalny has made the list of 6,000 people, it is these people you need to tackle."

In the video, Verhofstadt can be heard being given applause by other MEPs in the room.

"In the name of the 212 [members of Parliament], it's time to change your strategy. It is time to have an extra European Council as fast as possible. And to go for the full package of sanctions immediately," Verhofstadt continued.

He warned that doing anything besides this would mean that more innocent people are killed and the war is prolonged.

He also closed with a message to Germany and its stance on sanctions against Russia.

"This is so you can really make a difference, all the rest will not work. All the rest will prolong the war. All the rest will mean there are more killings on the Ukrainian side.

"Finally, a little advice to my friends in Germany. I think that after the horrors of the Second World War, there has emerged a strong and democratic Germany.

"A very strong and democratic Germany but from such a Germany I expect leadership. leading by example and not dragging their feed, as we see it today."

Guy Verhofstadt
Member of the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt speaks to the press during the opening remarks by the Co-Chairs of the Conference on the Future of Europe Executive Board in Brussels on April 19, 2021. Guy Verhofstadt's latest speech condemning the small sanctions on Russia has gone viral. Francois Walschaerts/Getty Images