Former European Commission President Encourages EU to Sign Association Agreement With Ukraine

Jun 19, 2013, 03:26 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi called for the EU to bring Ukraine closer to Europe as he reckoned such actions would encourage further progress of Ukraine. He expressed such an opinion in his Financial Times guest post "EU and Ukraine Must Build a Bridge Between East and West."

In his address, Italian politician referred to Ukraine's 46 million of educated workers, the country's strong export potential and promising agricultural sector, which could help revitalize Europe in the face of economic stagnation and turmoil.

Mentioning May 2013 signing of the memorandum on improving Ukraine - Customs Union cooperation, Prodi emphasized that now was the right moment to strengthen the links between Ukraine and Europe.

He paid special attention to the uniqueness of the opportunity that the political leaders of Europe were facing. "It is rare that world leaders have a chance to pragmatically achieve an idealistic goal, to unite bold dreams and careful statesmanship at the same time," he noted.

In his more than 700-word article, Prodi highlighted Kyiv's steps to be more active and responsible as an international actor. The Eastern European country got rid of its nuclear weapons and actively cooperates with the UN and NATO, he commented.

In March 2012, Ukraine completely removed the last of its highly enriched uranium. Currently, Ukraine is disposing of 133,000 tons of obsolete ammunition under the 12-year NATO Partnership Trust Fund project. Launched in 2006, the project has entered its second stage in April 2012 to focus on destruction of conventional munitions, small arms, and three million PFM-1 landmines.

In June 2013, Ukraine announced its intention to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2016-2017. Previously, it served as a non-permanent member back in 1948-1949, and 2001.

Ukraine remains a notable contributor to the global peace through its peacekeeping operations across the globe. Since 1992, approximately 37,000 Ukrainian military participated in international peacekeeping missions in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and in Central American Guatemala. Ukraine still carries out peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Kosovo, Transnistria, and South Sudan.

Ukraine hopes to sign the Association Agreement with the EU at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2013.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine