Press Releases Ukraine: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after the EU-Ukraine Association Council

Ukraine: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell after the EU-Ukraine Association Council

Thank you to all of you for attending this press conference. 

We are very happy to host here the Prime Minister of Ukraine – dear Denys [Shmyhal] – in Brussels on the occasion of the [ninth] Association Council between the European Union and Ukraine. This is an important moment, not just today. This week is an important week for Ukraine, and our support to Ukraine. 

Because on Monday – a couple of days ago – at the Foreign Affairs Council, we adopted the Ukraine Assistance Fund within the European Peace Facility, adding an extra €5 billion for military supplies to Ukraine.  

This will make our military support more predictable. It will bring the overall European Union’s and Member States’ assistance in military support to €33 billion. 

I am happy to be able to announce that [regarding] the commitments by Member States to support Ukraine bilaterally, I already have commitments for at least €20 billion for this year. For the European Peace Facility, it is a catalyst for the bilateral agreement between Member States and Ukraine. 

And all these resources have been mobilised because a Ukrainian victory, because [supporting] Ukraine and rejecting the aggressor is essential for our security. It is not only about Ukraine resisting and rejecting the invasion. It is about our security. And that is why we have to be supportive of the Ukrainian fight. 

If Putin were to conquer Ukraine, if Ukraine had to wave the white flag, if Ukraine had to surrender, then a puppet regime would be installed in Kyiv. Ukrainian people would be crushed and the Russian army will be at our borders. And we could be sure that they will not be stopping there. 

Earlier this week, Putin threatened NATO with a potential third World War in his so-called “election victory” speech. It is a clear sign that he already sees himself at war with the entire West. That is what he is saying. I am afraid that he will continue his military operations against Ukraine. 

We must now match the speed of our response with the extent of this threat. By quickly taking the next steps on redirecting the revenues from frozen Russian assets for the benefit of Ukraine. You know that there are €260 billion of resources from the Central Bank of Russia which have been frozen. We have been discussing for weeks about how to use the revenues of these resources. By the time being, we do not talk about the capital itself, but the windfall profits generated by these assets due to the high increase on interest rates. 

After the discussion [at] Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council, I sent a proposal for a Council decision to allocate the bulk of these revenues to the European Union’s financial capacity. 

And today the Commission, when we were meeting together, together with the High Representative, has also approved a joint proposal for the regulation, the implementation of this decision, that as I hope, the Council will adopt, this decision which I proposed. 

This proposal is about to allocate 90% of these revenues to the European Peace Facility (EPF) – on top of the €5 billion, not a substitution of, but adding to these €5 billion, the revenues generated by these frozen assets – in order to increase the military support to Ukraine. We do that through the European Peace Facility because the European Union budget cannot use its resources to buy arms. The European Peace Facility, as an intergovernmental fund, can do it. 

The rest, the 10%, would be allocated to the Union’s budget to address reconstruction needs and to support and increase the Ukrainian defence industry capacities. 

We think that the revenues generated from these immobilised assets will be around €3 billion a year that will be added, as I said, to the European Peace Facility and to the European Union’s budget for military and civilian purposes. This proposal, this Council decision proposal, and this Council Regulation proposal from me and the Commission, have already been sent to the Member States, my dear Prime Minister, so now it is up to them to take a decision that was very well received at the last Foreign Affairs Council. 

I hope that we can reach an agreement soon and change banknotes into weapons. Because your soldiers do not fight with banknotes. They need physical arms. They need physical instruments in order to defend your people.

That [is why] I’m saying that this week is very important from the point of view of our military support and is also an important discussion of this week on Ukraine’s future membership of the European Union. You have made the choice of becoming a member of the European Union, we opened this process. 

I understand those feelings well, when I was a young Spaniard faced with the darkness of a dictatorship, Europe was for me the beacon of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion. These three things are the ones that any society would like to have: political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion. 

And today, the meeting we had has allowed us to review the Ukrainian efforts on the European path. We looked at everything that has been done in terms of political association, reforms and trade relations. 

I am happy to confirm, and Commissioner [for Neighbourhood and EnlargementOlivér] Várhelyi will give more details, that Ukraine made remarkable progress. And this progress has been achieved while you are fighting for your national survival. You fight two fights at the same time, on the military side, fighting for your survival as a nation, and [on side of] the reforms in order to make you a member of the European Union. 

Today we have also made the first payment of €4.5 billion under the Ukraine Facility – our €50 billion package to support the recovery, the reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine. 

And tomorrow, the European Council will discuss how to further speed up Ukraine’s accession.

Let me once again reiterate that we, Europeans, know what we owe to your fights. We will be [here] for you, for your side, committed to whatever it takes. 

Thank you very much for this very important exchange today. 


Q & A

Q. For the High Representative, if I may: as we speak, we have at least two border crossing points blocked now in Poland. As Prime Minister mentioned, you discussed shortly that issue, but right now that the event is just developing, because we have also attempts to block the border between Poland and Germany. So, do you see some problems in that? And what is the possible threat for European mobility, in particular military mobility, in that regard? Especially in view of hybrid threats from Russian side. 

Well, about the blocking of the border, yes, we are aware of that. We are following closely these events. Certainly, the border has to be de-blocked. Whatever reason they can argue, this has to be solved by other means, because from a military point of view we need to have the transit between Ukraine and the European Union free. For military, for civilian purposes. So, I understand there may be concerns, but the way of solving that is certainly not jeopardising the transit between Ukraine and Poland in these critical moments. 

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