President Yanukovych: European Integration Remains Ukraine's Foreign Policy Priority

Feb 18, 2013, 04:11 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, February 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Association Agreement which includes establishing of the deep and comprehensive free trade zone remains Ukraine's priority in its relations with the EU, said President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in his interview with Ukraine and the World. Global Agenda 2013 analytical magazine. Concurrently, the country is set to find tools of effective and mutually beneficial cooperation with the Customs Union (CU) that would not contradict Ukraine's international obligations, noted the Ukrainian leader.  

According to President Yanukovych, the transition of relations with the EU into a qualitatively new format of political association and economic integration is "an important step toward further full scale integration of Ukraine into the EU".  He also believes there is sufficient level of political will on both sides today to complete this process within the scheduled time.  

In addition, the Ukrainian president expressed confidence that Ukraine-EU summit, scheduled for February 25, 2013, will narrow the gap in addressing the pressing issues in bilateral relations.

When asked about Ukraine's cooperation with the Customs Union, President Yanukovych reminded that the country's trade turnover with the CU member states exceeded USD 60 billion. Therefore, Ukraine will consider the possibility of adapting the national regulations to the CU rules that regulate free circulation of goods and services, which do not contradict the country's international commitments, he said.  It's been stressed that such steps will allow Ukraine to deepen partnership with the countries of the CU in the area of nuclear energy, aviation, shipbuilding, transport, agricultural machinery, and other fields.

Suffice it to say the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle mentioned on February 5, 2013 that Ukraine was welcome to cooperate with the Customs Union on issues which did not contradict the terms and conditions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. In his statement the EU commissioner noted that in order to be sure that such cooperation was fully compatible with the Association Agreement intensive counseling was required. Membership in the CU, however, deprived a member state of its sovereignty and sovereign right in its foreign trade policy, he added. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that it is in Brussels' and Kyiv's best interest to keep good relations with their neighbors including Moscow, stressed Füle.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine