Ukraine Sees the EU as a Model for Social and Economic Development - Ukrainian President

Dec 15, 2010, 06:23 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine, December 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ukrainian President believes that the European Union model has to be a long-term objective for Ukraine in developing economy, social policy, civil society and public institutions. Viktor Yanukovych made this statement in a meeting with the heads of Ukrainian diplomatic missions abroad as well as in another meeting that he had with foreign diplomats accredited in Ukraine.

"We see the European Union as an optimal model of social development, economy, public institutions, and, in a long run - as our common home," the Ukrainian President said in his speech.

In fact, despite the political instability that the country has experienced during the past five years, the European integration was the country's main priority and remains unchanged today. The relationships with Russia and the United States have always been a source of controversy in the Ukrainian society, while the idea of Ukraine as an EU member was always supported by an absolute majority of the Ukrainian people. Moreover, in 2005 Ukraine unilaterally waived visas for the EU citizens, demonstrating the country's openness and EU aspirations.

This year Ukraine made progress towards its strategic goal by signing the Energy Community Agreement and adopting the Action Plan for visa-free travel. In the current status-quo, the Action Plan looks more like a home task for Ukraine than a mutually accepted to-do list. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian President has already pledged to achieve all objectives set out in the document by the middle of 2011.

Last week the Ukrainian leadership announced a series of vital reforms aimed at bringing the country's legislation closer to the EU standards. The adoption of the new Tax Code, the introduction of a new pension system, and the administrative reform have become the first three steps on the way to the country's modernization. The pension reform, for instance, will deal with the problem of the aging population and the increasing pension fund's deficit, which is also the case for a number of developed EU states.

Though the reforms have only begun, and their implementation willtake years, they send a strong signal to the EU officials about the country's strategic goals.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine