“A The most difficult question is the following: the European Union (EU) is not prepared to integrate a country at war like the war in Ukraine because that would be bringing the war into the European Union. Sooner or later, we have to prepare for a possible understanding agreement”, said Durão Barroso.

“There is an attacker [Rússia] and a country attacked [Ucrânia] – it is not a symmetrical situation and, therefore, what we need is peace. We haven’t reached that position yet, but this is very important. Otherwise, we are giving [Vladimir] Putin’s reasons for prolonging the war for years and years”, defended the former president of the European Commission, who held the position between 2004 and 2014.

Durão Barroso opened the conference on Ukraine’s accession process to the EU: “Accession of Ukraine to the European Union — what do we need for a successful enlargement?”, organized by the Portuguese Association of European Law and the Institute of Political Studies of Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in collaboration with the Embassy of Ukraine in Portugal.

At the conference taking place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon, Durão Barroso, who spoke in English, highlighted the importance of new political and diplomatic approaches.

“The problem is European, because if Putin wins the war in Ukraine, it is not just a defeat for the Ukrainians. It is also a defeat for us [europeus]”, he stated.

“When people ask me where the ‘European Army’ is, I say it’s the Ukrainian one. The Ukrainian Army is the ‘European Army'”, he declared, stressing that he was speaking “in a personal capacity”.

Last year, the European Council decided to accept the applications and accession negotiations of Ukraine and Moldova.

Barroso recalled that Ukraine wanted to be part of the EU after the “Orange Revolution” (2004/2005) but that there was no consensus among member states and, therefore, an association agreement was proposed.

“During that period I maintained contacts with President Putin. He never opposed Ukraine establishing an association agreement or even being part of the European Union. He made it very clear that he did not accept Ukraine’s membership in NATO, as he highlighted in Bucharest in 2008”, he recalled.

But in 2014, when signing an association agreement, the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he could not sign it because Russia did not allow it.

“Everything would have been different. There was a lot of pressure and not just from Russia, but it’s too early to talk about that,” he stressed.

“In 2014, when the Russian invasion of Crimea took place, I contacted Putin and asked him why they were invading Crimea. He said it was not an invasion, that it was not the Russian Armed Forces and that they were Russian citizens close to the peninsula who had friends on the other side of the border”, he reported.

“Putin added that if it had been regular Russian forces, Kiev ‘would have been taken in less than two weeks,'” Barroso said.

“Seven days later, I reported the conversation to the Commission and then there was a leak of information. The Kremlin didn’t like it. It didn’t deny it, but it stated that I referred to Putin’s words out of context,” he said.

The threat against Kiev “was a manifestation of a secret desire that what he wanted was not just Crimea but all of Ukraine”, he considered.

“For me, it was clear that Putin, emotionally and politically, did not accept the Ukrainian reality, just like Belarus, a country controlled by Moscow,” he said.

“Putin is not crazy, he is dangerous and an autocrat, but he is not irrational. He made a big mistake. He did not count on the determination of the Ukrainian people and the support of the European bloc and the United States. This is where we find ourselves. A large-scale war in the middle of Europe”, he concluded.

Read Also: Almost two years of war in Ukraine. Here is the chronology of the Russian invasion

Source: https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/pais/2505492/ucrania-ue-nao-esta-preparada-para-integrar-um-pais-em-guerra

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