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Portugal has no ambiguity on Ukraine's EU accession - Foreign Ministry

Portugal has no ambiguity on Ukraine's EU accession - Foreign Ministry Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Rangel (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Portuguese Foreign Ministry criticized "some of the hesitations" of the previous government regarding EU expansion, stating that the new government of the country is in favor of Ukraine's accession to the union, according to Portuguese Foreign Minister Paulo Rangel.

"Prime Minister Luís Montenegro has given a clear signal that he is in favour of EU enlargement. This is something that I think needed to be clarified, because Portugal had some hesitations, especially when it was being given candidate status last year," he said.

The head of the Portuguese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the government of António Costa (former Prime Minister of Portugal) was "totally on Ukraine's side," but "there was at least some hesitation there, which always created a margin of ambiguity."

"Now there is no ambiguity," Rangel added.

Position of the former Portuguese government

The former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, had previously warned several times that EU expansion must be accompanied by reform of the bloc's structures, including the budget, to avoid imbalances, such as in the distribution of European funds and representation of countries in the European Parliament.

For example, in June 2022, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa stated that Ukraine's integration into the European Union could lead to its destruction rather than strengthening it and could even trap Ukraine if consistent decisions are not made.

Regarding these warnings, Foreign Minister Rangel acknowledged that expansion "of course implies financial and treaty reform."

""That was already the position of the previous government, and that remains the same," he added, drawing a distinction with the current government, which has demonstrated "firm commitment to supporting enlargement when it has to take place".

Ukraine and EU

On December 14 last year, the European Council, during a summit in Brussels, supported the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.

Ukraine gained candidate status for EU accession last year. However, to become a member of the EU, it was necessary to fulfill 7 conditions.

Earlier, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said that fulfilling two conditions is a very good result. She reminded that some Western Balkan countries have been progressing towards where Ukraine is now for years, and fulfilling one recommendation is practically a national celebration.