Europe sends a signal of solidarity to Ukraine by granting the country the status of an EU candidate, the Prime Minister of Ireland said.
aoiseach Michel Martin was commenting in Brussels on what he called a “very important” and “historic” two-day meeting of the European Council, when Ukraine will be formally granted candidate status for future EU membership.
The move comes amid the ongoing war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion in February.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Martin also expressed concern about the prospect of famine in some parts of the world due to the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain leaving the country.
It is expected that at the meeting of the Council Ukraine and Moldova will be granted the status of a candidate member of the EU. Georgia’s membership application will also be recognized as an officially recognized country with a European perspective, a step below candidate status.
“This is a very important meeting of the European Council,” Mr Martin said.
“This is a historic event in terms of European Union enlargement, and I am particularly pleased as a longtime supporter of Ukraine’s application for European Union candidate status.
“This is very important for Ukraine, very important for Moldova and, of course, for Georgia from a European perspective.
Today, the European Union sends a signal of solidarity to the people of Ukraine that you belong to the European family.Michael Martin, Taoiseach
“We in Ireland know what the European Union means by being a member of the European Union. This is the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s decision to join the European Union, perhaps the most radical decision and event to have taken place in modern Irish history.
“So, I always fail to understand how we could ever refuse to join other member states, because we know that membership itself can be transformative.
“It can push reforms, it can spur economic development, and even though Ukraine is going through a terrible, terrible, inhuman war, their cities have been razed to the ground, their people are being terrorized – the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II. .
“And I think that today the European Union is sending a signal of solidarity to the people of Ukraine, that you belong to a European family, you belong to the European Union, and today a decision will be made to facilitate your application and you will have a candidate. status for accession to the European Union together with Moldova, and eventually with Georgia”.
Regarding the blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, Martin accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “arming” the famine.
“There are (no) any sanctions against the movement of food and Europe has been very clear about this because we do not want in any form or form to be a catalyst for any famine or famine and this is a great fear at the moment because of the fact that grain is not being exported from Ukraine, that there could be very significant consequences in terms of famine, and this is of great concern, especially around the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and so on,” he said.
Asked to comment on claims that Irish imports of some Russian goods have indeed increased, Mr Martin added: “All security measures have been taken. We are very careful about our role as a country to make sure sanctions are applied and enforced and we will be taking every precaution (in)ports and general supervision to ensure this doesn’t happen.
“But with regard to food and materials that contribute to food production, we are very clear – there are no sanctions in this regard, because people need food all over the world.
“Putin has weaponized food, he has weaponized energy, he has weaponized migration as part of his overall war effort, which I consider completely immoral and wrong.”