Portugal’s prime minister has warned that the debate over whether to grant Ukraine candidacy status in the European Union could divide the bloc and create “false expectations.”
“The best support that the European Union can give to Ukraine is to keep its unity,” António Costa told the Financial Times in an interview. “The best we can offer is European unity.”
Division in the EU would be a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the newspaper cites Costa as saying.
“My focus is to obtain in the next European Council a clear commitment on the urgent support and to build a long-term platform to support the recovery of Ukraine,” Costa told the FT.
“This is my main priority. The most important are not legal debates about Ukraine but practical deliveries," he added.
According to the FT, Costa said that he did not explicitly oppose Ukraine’s candidacy, but that his priority was “clear and immediate support,” warning against opening a years-long negotiation at this moment.
“The great risk is to create false expectations that become bitter disappointment. Less legal debates, more practical solutions," he said.
During a visit to Kyiv this weekend, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the Commission would be ready to finalize its assessment on whether to recommend Ukraine for EU membership “by the end of next week.”