Prime Minister António Costa on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a return to compulsory military service, adding that Ukraine must deepen its association agreement with the EU.
Costa was speaking with the Journalists Club, in partnership with Lusa and the Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, as part of the commemorations of the 50 years of April 25 and the 40 years of the club.
Costa said NATO’s priority was to “strengthen Europe’s eastern flank”, which is why Portugal sent troops to Romania.
“In the future, it is clear that after this war there will be a new relationship of forces which will have to be established in the security and defense systems of Europe”, he declared.
Costa added, “it makes no sense to go back,” when asked about the prospect of returning military service.
“The strategic bet that the country made was to strengthen its military capabilities, through the improvement of its equipment, in the strengthening of the professionalization of its Armed Forces, taking into account the missions that we have to fulfill – missions in the vast area of the exclusive economic zone and the national forces deployed in the service of NATO, the European Union and the United Nations, or in the framework of bilateral partnerships with the Member States of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP ) “, did he declare.
The Prime Minister noted that “there is a commitment to achieve time-bound defense investment targets up to 2024.
Costa also played down speculation about the pace of Ukraine’s EU bid and said the accession processes “have their own pace” and recalled that Portugal‘s accession took nine years.
“Portugal will make a declaration under the treaties at the appropriate time”, and “we must not forget that there are several countries whose accession processes have been dragging on for several years”, he declared.
It is “urgent that the European Council and the European Commission focus on Ukraine’s immediate needs: to negotiate now the deepening of the Association Agreement and an unequivocal commitment to support the brutal reconstruction effort of the country “, added the Prime Minister.