“I was one of the members of the Council who pointed out that Europe must not repeat the situation of unpreparedness that it has already shown in the past, in the face of humanitarian crises that appear to be clearly predictable and, therefore, it must prepare the reception mechanisms from now on”, said António Costa.

Underlining that Portugal reaffirmed its full readiness to “share with all other Member States” the “obligation to ensure international protection for all”, the Prime Minister recalled that, “in the specific case of Ukrainians, Portugal has a very positive experience” with the extraordinary Ukrainian community that has lived in the country for almost 20 years.

“The Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition [Pedro Siza Vieira] and the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security [Ana Mendes Godinho] have established contacts with a wide range of companies to identify opportunities for job positions”, he revealed.

In this way, he continued, Portugal is in a position, through the Instituto do Emprego e de Formação Profissional, “to also be able to provide data for the professional profile suited to the different job opportunities, which fortunately exist in Portugal at the moment and which are fundamental, in fact, to support the recovery of the Portuguese economy”.

Regarding the reception of refugees, António Costa said that Portugal defends, as he defended in the past, “with regard to other refugees, that the principle of European solidarity must be respected here, that all Member States must make themselves available and that States that, due to their geographical proximity, as they have a common border, they will naturally be the first to be requested in international protection”, adding that, “in this specific case, it will most likely be Poland”.

As for Portugal, he reiterated that “the immediate granting of visas will be ensured for all those who are family, friends or acquaintances of residents in Portugal and who want to go live in Portugal”, having already “instructed in this regard” to the consular services and embassies “both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries”.