EU launching European Marshall Plan for Ukraine - European Council president
KYIV. May 5 (Interfax-Ukraine) - European Council President Charles Michel believes that a donor conference to be hosted by Warsaw will become a starting point for Europe's Marshall Plan for Ukraine.
"We must send a very strong signal that we will support Ukraine as much as possible," Michel told Ukrainian journalists.
"Visionary leaders today have to [...] give a signal that we will be courageous, we will be extremely firm in order to support Ukraine not only with work, not only with speeches - this is not enough - we need decisions, we need money, we need strong coordination, we need political will," he said.
There are three fields that the money from the trust fund may be spent on, Michel said.
"The first is humanitarian support. We want to make sure that Ukrainian authorities are supported as much as we can in order to provide humanitarian support that is needed. The second goal is the liquidity. It is important to support as much as we can Ukraine with [...] grants and loans in order to support it as the economic level. And the third point is rebuilding of the country," he said.
The trust fund should be activated "as soon as possible," Michel said.
"The goal is not to rebuild Ukraine of the past. The goal is to build a modern prosperous, forward looking Ukraine," he said.
Michel also supported the idea of transferring 10% of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) member states' Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to Ukraine.
"We are in close contact with the IMF and also with different countries across the world and also across the EU. I think indeed this opinion is an interesting option, and we must look at that in order to see if it's possible and for which member states it will be possible to take such a decision," he said.
When speaking about adopting a legal decision on this issue, Michel said, "It is a decision of the member states on the national level, but in my capacity as Chair of the European Council, and Ukrainian friends know that they can count on me in order to support this. It is immediately 10%, or we will start with 5% and will try to raise more -we should see what is possible, what is realistic. But I'm supporter of this idea."
As regards Ukraine's EU membership application, Michel said that he is currently not ready to give an exact date for putting this issue on the EU leaders' agenda, but intends to do it when "there is the best moment" for that.
After the European Commission presents its conclusions in June, the European Council will then consider this issue, he said.
"In the Council it will be my responsibility in my capacity to assess when we will be ready to put the topic on the agenda of the European Council. I'll consult with all actors in order to assess when this is the best moment when we will be prepared to hold this debate at the level of the European Council... Is it June or is it later- I'm not able to define the answer today," Michel said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's application is already going through all necessary procedures in a fast-track manner, he said.
"In fact, we took a quick decision, in a few days after the application by Ukraine, we decided immediately to task the European Commission to issue the opinion. Usually, it takes 8-9 months. De-facto, here we took a decision in a few days," he said.
Upon being asked whether Ukraine could be granted EU membership even before it implements all necessary reforms, Michel said, "This is very clear that this process which is based on reforms, because the question about membership is related to the common approach to fundamental elements - the rule of law, the independence of justice, the fight against corruption, the single market, the economic reforms."
Michel also believes that the sixth package of anti-Russian sanctions, which include an embargo on oil deliveries, will be adopted. Furthermore, he spoke in favor of confiscating the assets of Russian citizens put on the sanctions lists.
"Personally, I'm absolutely convinced that this is extremely important not only to freeze assets but also to make it possible to confiscate it, to make it available for the rebuilding of the country. I'm personally convinced," he said.
At the same time, citing the professional experience of EU lawyers, Michel admitted that "the legal level is not so simple."
"There are 27 legal systems across the EU, and in many EU member states this needs decision-taking by a court in order to make it possible. It's a difficult and long process," Michel said.