Mr Costa in Sesimbra today, celebrating the opening of the world's longest digital subsea cable, connecting Portugal with the African continent. Photo: @antoniocostapm

PM on way to Ukraine as Brussels announces up to €9 billion in short-term funding

António Costa’s schedule to be kept secret for security reasons

Portugal’s PM will be visiting Ukraine this week, just as Brussels has announced up to €9 billion in short-term funding to help the country repel Russian invaders.

António Costa admitted recently that he would be paying a visit to Kyiv, but for security reasons, no dates were given.

News that the visit is imminent came from President Marcelo who told reporters that his visit to Timor “to celebrate peace” on Thursday (till Sunday) would be taking place at the same time as Mr Costa’s to Ukraine.

Chances are that the PM will arrive in Kyiv either on Friday or Saturday.

According to reports he is leaving Portugal today for Bucharest, to meet Portuguese soldiers on a NATO mission in Romania on Thursday, followed by a trip to Poland, where he is scheduled to visit a camp of Ukrainian refugees on Friday.

Two weeks ago, when Mr Costa announced that Portugal would be giving Ukraine €2.1 million, the total of financial aid donated by Europe had reached €4 billion.

Today that changed with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen pledging “new exceptional macro financial assistance of up to €9 million” payable throughout this year.

Ms von der Leyen did not explain how the money would be attributed, but she stressed that in the long term, the EU will be supporting the reconstruction of Ukraine, combining investments with reforms in a way of preparing the country’s path to Europe.

To this end a reconstruction platform will be created, bringing Ukraine together with EU Member States, “other bilateral and international donors, international financial institutions and other like-minded partners”.

“The objective of this platform will be to reach a deal on the path to follow and assure maximum synergies from all efforts.

“These investments will help Ukraine emerge much stronger and more resistant from the devastation caused by Putin’s troops”, she added – stressing that the reconstruction plan for Ukraine will “have to include reforms in key areas, like the combat of corruption, the rule of law and independence of the judiciary, also having in mind digital and ecological transition and the fundamental values of the European Union”.

Tweeting hard and fast today – including on the subject of €300 billion in investments in renewable energies – Ms von der Leyen’s declarations of continued support for Ukraine will be sticking very uncomfortably in the Russian craw.