Ukraine Reconfirms its Aspiration for Closer Integration With the European Union

Sep 13, 2010, 12:16 ET from Press Office of the President of Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine, September 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- During his visit to Brussels the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has reconfirmed his country's aspirations for closer cooperation with the European Union. During his meetings with the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy he has discussed the issues of the Visa-free Action Plan, the Association Agreement as well as Ukraine's accession to the Energy Charter Treaty.

The signing of the Protocol of Accession to the European Energy Charter Treaty which is being prepared nowadays is expected on September 24, according to the Ukrainian President, and will be an important step towards ensuring the energy security of EU and Ukraine, whose gas transit system is the second largest in Europe and who is the largest transit supplier of the Russian gas to the EU countries.

As reported earlier, during the August 30 meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Yanukovych offered Germany partnership in the reconstruction of the Ukrainian gas transit system.

Among the other important issues on the agenda was the Visa-free Action Plan. Ukraine waived visas for all EU citizens back in 2005 on the occasion of the Eurovision Song Contest which the country hosted that year in Kyiv. After the Eurovision the country's officials decided to keep the waiver on as an additional incentive for foreign tourists and businessmen, as well as a general sign of the country's openness towards the EU. However, the European Union's officials have not yet set a date when a reciprocal step from EU towards Ukraine will be taken.

The landmark meeting between Mr Yanukovych and his high-standing European counterparts is an important logical step expected to facilitate Ukraine's EU integration process and lead to the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the establishment of the EU-Ukraine free-trade zone and the implementation of the EU-Ukraine visa-free regime.

SOURCE Press Office of the President of Ukraine