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our only option is to support Ukraine for as long as necessary

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It is in our interest to support Ukraine because we want stability, we want prosperity, for ourselves and for our children. Our only option is to support Ukraine for as long as necessary, said Charles Michel in an interview with the reporter of “Fakty o Świecie” TVN24 BiS, Jakub Loska. The President of the European Council also spoke about his assessment of the changes in Poland aimed at restoring the rule of law and the upcoming European elections.

Jakub Loska, “Facts about the World” TVN24 BIS: Welcome to Poland, Mr. President. Has Poland returned to the path of the rule of law?

Charles Michel, President of the European Council: I am sure of this because I know Prime Minister Donald Tusk very well and I know that he is absolutely determined to protect the rule of law. On the one hand, I feel the political will and political sincerity of Donald Tusk and his government. On the other hand, I don't underestimate the challenges because I suppose there are certain challenges when you become prime minister and when there are things that absolutely need to be done.

Jakub Loska: Your job involves talking to all European leaders every day. What is their rating? Do they have doubts?

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Charles Michel: NO. My priority is to build a united European Union, and the European Council plays a very important role in this. I would say that the European Council is the guardian of European unity. We trust Donald Tusk and see the efforts he is making.

Charles Michel: Poland is back on the path of the rule of law, and Donald Tusk is determined to protect the rule of lawFacts about the World TVN24 BiS

SEE ALSO: “It's not charity.” NATO head on aid for Ukraine

Jakub Loska: You met with several leaders in Warsaw. How do you assess European unity in the face of Russian aggression? Does it still exist? What are the main threats to European unity?

Charles Michel: We are extremely united and we probably surprised the Kremlin because they probably assumed we would divide very quickly. But that didn't happen. Let's take a look: the first point is the sanctions we have introduced. The second point is support for Ukraine, political support with the opening of accession negotiations, financial support, an additional package of EUR 50 billion for Ukraine. It is certain that Ukraine faces difficult challenges and we need to do more. Do more in terms of military equipment, it is very urgent.

Let's look at what happened yesterday (Thursday – editor's note) and the day before yesterday (Wednesday – editor's note), this terrible attack on a power plant near Kiev and its consequences. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine because we defend international law, we defend the United Nations Charter. It is in our interest to support Ukraine because we want stability, we want prosperity. For us and for our children. Our only option is to support Ukraine for as long as necessary.

Charles Michel for European unity against Russian aggression

Charles Michel for European unity against Russian aggressionFacts about the World TVN24 BiS

Charles Michel: what we do is fundamental to our common future

Jakub Loska: I will stick to the issue of threats. What about the governments in Slovakia and Hungary? Messrs. Orban and Fico are considered pro-Russian, pro-Kremlin politicians. Are they a threat to European unity?

Charles Michel: One thing is absolutely clear: decisions in the European Council are taken unanimously, also with the support of Messrs. Orban and Fico. It is no secret that they sometimes express different voices and different positions. But let us emphasize once again: we have always made decisions unanimously in the European Council, that is, always with the support of all 27 countries.

Jakub Loska: We're about to have European elections, do you have any ideas on how to deal with far-right, mostly pro-Kremlin parties? Not only Orban, but also AfD, Marine Le Pen?

Charles Michel: There is only one way. All those who believe in the added value of the European project in terms of peace, stability and prosperity must explain to people that what we do is fundamental to our common future. This is democracy. It is a difficult fight because sometimes people try to use fake news and disinformation to put pressure on those who sincerely believe in our common future.

We have various polls, we all look at them and comment on them, but in fact only one poll is important – it is the elections and we will see what will result from them.

I am convinced, I feel it, that our citizens throughout the Union, even if sometimes there are some temptations, see that as an Union we have made important decisions to fight COVID-19. They see that when Russia decided to wage an energy war against us, we reacted with greater solidarity. They see that when we support Ukraine, we support our future and our children.

The case of the migration pact

Jakub Loska: I would like to ask about the Pact on Migration and Asylum recently adopted in the European Parliament. There are voices that it may fail due to the new relocation program. Even your predecessor, Donald Tusk, said he might be against it. What would you tell him to convince him to support the pact?

Charles Michel: I always respect the democratic debate in the Union and I always accept that some Member States have their own specific sensitivities and opinions. I sincerely feel that this migration pact is a step in the right direction because it sends the message that we are able to cooperate and develop greater solidarity on the issue of migration.

For example, let's be honest, this will be a very useful tool to improve the capacity of the return policy, which today is a weak point at the level of the entire Union. We have also made much more efforts to cooperate with third countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Mauritania and many others. We have entered into partnership agreements with these countries to jointly stop illegal immigration, and it is effective.

I am more concerned about something else, namely the use and even instrumentalization of migration as a tool to carry out hybrid attacks on the European Union. This is also a challenge for Poland. This is not the first time that we have faced such difficulties from Belarus. And here I want to say that I and the European Union are facing this challenge together with Donald Tusk. We must show our solidarity when one of our Member States faces such a situation.

READ ALSO: Donald Tusk: migration pact unacceptable for Poland

Jakub Loska: Do you think that Poland could be excluded from the relocation program because we accepted about a million Ukrainian refugees?

Charles Michel: I don't want to prejudge this, because there is a whole decision-making process regarding the migration pact. A vote was recently held in the European Parliament and the Pact will then be implemented taking into account many factors. But it is true that Poland is a country that welcomes many Ukrainian refugees and I would like to express my gratitude that your country has decided to accept so many of them.

Poland and the migration pact.  The President of the European Council responds

Poland and the migration pact. The President of the European Council respondsFacts about the World TVN24 BiS

Jakub Loska: But do you think there is a chance of being outside the relocation program? The word “relocation” is very often used in Polish politics to create fear in voters.

Charles Michel: I do not intend to interfere in the internal debate in Poland, it is not my role. My point of view is very simple – we have the rules, we have the decision-making process regarding this migration pact, we have taken a big step in the form of a vote in the European Parliament and only then will we see what the pact means for each Member State. The rule of law means that when regulations are created, we must respect them and check the principles on which they should be implemented.

Jakub Loska: Now a personal question. In January, you announced that you would shorten your term in order to run in the European elections. Then, after heavy criticism, you changed your mind. Could you explain your stance to our viewers?

Charles Michel: It is very easy. After announcing my decision, I quickly realized that some people decided to use it to try to undermine or even destabilize the European Council. And the European Council is the most important political body. This is the highest level. With 27 heads of state and government working together to build European unity. It was very clear to me that it was fundamental to protect the Council and make sure we made the decisions that were necessary. First of all, in terms of the strategic agenda, political directions for the coming five years. Secondly, we will have to play an important role in the personnel issue after the European elections. We must play our part in shaping the future of the European Union.

READ ALSO: Report: Anti-European, right-wing populists may succeed in the European Parliament elections

Jakub Loska: There were fears that Viktor Orban could chair European Council meetings. Can you imagine such a scenario?

Charles Michel: This question is no longer relevant, but I can say that such a possibility did not exist in practice.

Jakub Loska: Who will be the next President of the European Council after the European elections?

Charles Michel: I will answer this question after the European elections, when the European Council will take the necessary decisions.

Jakub Loska: And who are you betting on?

Charles Michel: I'm not going to play this game.

The entire conversation with the President of the European Council

The entire conversation with the President of the European CouncilJakub Loska/Fakty o Świecie TVN24 BiS

Author:Jakub Loska

Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Facts about the World TVN24 BiS

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