Ukraine-Slovenia: European Integration Continues

Oct 12, 2011, 07:49 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, October 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

On Tuesday, October 11 the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the President of Slovenia Danilo Türk signed a number of bilateral documents, including the Protocol to enhance cooperation in the European Union. During the meeting both leaders discussed the issue of bringing Ukrainian criminal legislation in line with European standards, which became a pressing matter in the light of the recent guilty verdict in the criminal case of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

During the visit of the President of Slovenia Danilo Türk to Ukraine the two countries signed the Protocol, promoting Ukraine's accession to the EU statements and declarations on foreign and security policies. The document also provisions expert assistance to Ukraine so that it could extend its contract base with the EU, including the Association Agreement. The document also stipulates implementation of the EU entry visas for short visits of Ukrainians to the EU Member States.

Along with the protocol the parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in tourism, a Letter of Intent on cooperation in customs affairs, and, most importantly, Intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in combating organized crime.

Ukraine is still facing a number of challenges in harmonizing national legislation with European standards, commented the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych at the joint press conference with President Türk. It was also noted that reforming criminal legislation, especially adopting a new code on criminal procedures, was among the pressing issues. Suffice it to say, the current law has been operational since 1962.

Therefore, the recent court ruling in the case of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yuliia Tymoshenko (she is charged with abusing the office when signing the gas contract with Russia in 2009. - Ed.) was proceeded in accordance with the current legislation. According to the president, with the current criminal legislation in place the Ukrainian judicial authority and law enforcement agencies had no other choice but to act in line with the respective laws. Viktor Yanukovych reminded that the guilty verdict in Tymoshenko's case can be challenged in the appeals court, and the legislation in power at that time will have a crucial impact on the court's ruling. Notably, the investigation in the criminal case was initiated by the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine back in 2009.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine