I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 20, inclusive, together.
I attended a number of meetings of the European Council in recent weeks. A special meeting on 24 February was called in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I also attended an informal meeting on 10 and 11 March that took place in Versailles and the regular March meeting of the European Council on 24 and 25 March. All those meetings were dominated by events in Ukraine. We have condemned the war since the start as immoral and unjustifiable, and rightly so, but the evidence emerging at the weekend of horrific crimes against civilians in regions north of Kyiv is especially and profoundly shocking. Such unspeakable deeds cannot go unanswered and those responsible must be held to account.
At our meeting on 24 February, in addition to condemning Russia's unprovoked and unjustifiable action, we adopted a range of sanctions in the financial, energy and transport sectors, as well as export controls and visa policy. We also listed a number of Russian individuals associated with or supporting the Putin regime.
When we met in Versailles on 10 and 11 March, we adopted the Versailles declaration, committing to protect our citizens, values, democracies and the European model in the face of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
In light of Ukraine's application to join the EU, we invited the Commission to submit its opinion on the application and, pending this, we agreed to further strengthen our bonds and deepen our partnership, without delay, to support Ukraine in pursuing its European path. As the House will be aware, I have publicly expressed my support for Ukraine's accession in due course. As we agreed in Versailles, Ukraine belongs to our European family.
At Versailles, we also set out how the EU can reduce our energy dependencies, reinforce our economic base and reduce dependencies on third country markets in critical sectors.
Our meeting in Brussels on 24 and 25 March coincided with summit meetings of NATO and the G7. Our meeting was joined for a period by President Biden and, via video link, by President Zelenskyy. We discussed the situation from a range of concerning perspectives. We discussed humanitarian concerns, migration, energy, nuclear security and safety and reconstruction. We agreed on the establishment of a solidarity fund for Ukraine, both to support the Government's current expenditure and to help rebuild the country after the war. We invited third countries to join us in this endeavour.
On security and defence, we endorsed the strategic compass. This strategy document will provide enhanced political direction for the EU's approach to security and defence policy for the next five to ten years. Ireland has engaged constructively in the development of the EU's common security and defence policy, guided by our traditional policy of military neutrality and our contribution to crisis management and peacekeeping. This will continue to be the case. As I said, we are militarily neutral but that does not mean we are politically or morally neutral. We have already seen how new forms of warfare, including cyberattacks, can have real and profound consequences. It is appropriate that we co-operate with our partners in combatting those threats.
We also discussed energy issues and the significant impact of current high prices. We need to move away from dependence in Europe on Russian gas and oil. This can be achieved by diversifying supplies and routes, accelerating the development of renewables, improving energy efficiency and further developing the interconnection of European electricity and gas networks.
At our meeting on 24 and 25 March, we also discussed the latest situation on Covid-19, including vaccine production and sharing; economic prospects; the EU-China summit meeting, which since took place on 1 April; and increased political tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We also re-elected Charles Michel as President of the European Council for a second term due to end in November 2024. I congratulate him on his re-election and look forward to working with him into the future.