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Portuguese FM: Portugal no longer hesitant about Ukraine's EU membership

by Martin Fornusek April 5, 2024 12:43 PM 2 min read
PSD vice-president Paulo Rangel, now Portugal's foreign minister, during the first of a two-day European People's Party Political Assembly on November 17, 2022, in Lisbon, Portugal.(Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
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The new Portuguese government is fully in support of Ukraine's EU bid, the country's foreign minister, Paulo Rangel, said on April 4, presenting it as a shift from the "ambiguous" stance of the previous administration, Euractiv reported.

Portugal's former prime minister, Antonio Costa, has been supportive of Ukraine and even backed the EU's accession talks with Kyiv last December. However, Costa has also repeatedly said that any EU enlargement must be accompanied by extensive reforms within the bloc and that Kyiv's accession should not be disconnected from the integration of Western Balkan countries.

Costa, from Portugal's Socialist Party, was replaced by center-right Luis Montenegro following the parliamentary elections in March.

Speaking after the NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, Rangel recognized that Costa's government was "totally on Ukraine's side" but added that when it came to the EU's enlargement, "there was at least some hesitation there, which always created a margin of ambiguity."

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

Ukraine applied for EU membership early in 2022 in the wake of Russia's full-scale invasion. The European Council agreed to grant it candidate status already later that year.

During the December 2023 summit, European leaders agreed to open accession talks with Ukraine, and Brussels has already begun screening the country's legislation as the first step of the process.

Ukraine’s path to EU accession paved with reforms
When European leaders agreed to Ukraine’s accession talks in December 2023, the historic move was hailed in Kyiv as a recognition of years of struggle to get closer to the bloc since the EuroMaidan Revolution. The agreement came after a European Commission decision in November 2023 recommending tal…
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