Portuguese PM urges EU to help Ukraine, not debate status

The status of an EU candidate will not solve Ukraine's pressing problems, while “there is a great risk of creating false expectations that will turn into bitter disappointment,” says António Costa

The EU should focus on helping Ukraine, not on the debate about whether to grant it country status— candidate to join the union, said Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa. He expressed this opinion in an interview with the Financial Times.

According to him, this status will not solve the pressing problems of Ukraine, while “there is a great risk of creating false expectations that will turn into bitter disappointment.” In addition, Costa fears that the European Union, by its actions, will only demonstrate disagreements in Brussels on the issue of Ukraine's membership, thereby presenting a “gift” to Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Portuguese prime minister does not object to Kyiv joining the union in the future, but he is convinced that first of all it is necessary to “respond to the emergency situation in which Ukraine and the Ukrainian people now live.” Even if she is granted candidate status, he said, the country's urgent needs have yet to be met.

“I am looking forward to a clear commitment to urgent support at the next meeting of the European Council and a long-term platform to help rebuild Ukraine,” — Costa said, noting that the main thing is “not the legal debate about Ukraine, but the practical deliveries.”

Earlier, Politico, citing several officials familiar with the discussion, reported that the EC is inclined to recommend granting Ukraine the status of a country— candidate for the EU. She must make a decision on June 17, after which the leaders of the EU countries will discuss it on June 23 & 24. Several countries disagree with granting Kyiv candidate status.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed an application for EU membership in late February, days after the start of the Russian military operation. In April, Kyiv submitted a completed questionnaire to Brussels in order to become a candidate. The head of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, promised to consider the Ukrainian application in the summer.

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Russia at first did not object to Ukraine's entry in the EU, but subsequently changed its position. In particular, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov, said that he doubted the harmlessness of Kyiv's desire to become part of the EU. According to him, the European Union “from a constructive economic platform” turned into “an aggressive militant player who declares his ambitions far beyond the borders of the European continent.”

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