Ukrainian President: Ukrainian People Need More Human Contact and Economic Cooperation With the EU

Aug 22, 2011, 16:15 ET from Worldwide News Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, August 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

   President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych said that both Ukraine and the EU need to significantly expand human dialogue on a citizens' level as well as develop effective economic cooperation. Such statement went public during the president's official address to Ukrainian and international communities on the eve of the 20th Independence Day of Ukraine. The testimony proclaimed the European way to be the basis for the Ukrainian foreign policy and European values - the foundation for the country's further development.

Ukraine's leader noted that expanding human contact between Ukrainian and the EU populations is essential for Ukrainians. The EURO 2012 Football Championship is expected to provide a chance for the Europeans to see and experience Ukraine and for the Ukrainians to communicate with tourists and football fans from the EU.

The advocacy of human dialogue promotion between Ukraine and the EU began in 2006 with the inception of the visa liberalization dialogue. The Visa Liberalization Action Plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel was adopted in late 2010.

In addition, President Yanukovych underlined the importance of economic cooperation with the EU. He is confident that both the EU and Ukraine will benefit from the Association and Free Trade Agreements.

Over the last decade the European Union has been Ukraine's largest trade partner. The estimated value of goods Ukraine imported from the EU in 2010 amounted to over USD 17 bln, the estimated value of goods Ukraine exported to the EU last year totaled USD 11 bln. Moreover, 75% of all foreign direct investment to Ukraine came from the EU countries. The planned Free Trade Zone Agreement between the EU and Ukraine will further enhance this cooperation.

The Free Trade Agreement is a part of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. Association is an instrument of the European Neighbourhood Policy - a foreign policy of the European Union with an objective to avoid the emergence of new dividing lines between the EU and its neighbours. The Policy was established in 2004 to strengthen stability, endorse security, and stimulate prosperity in the 16 closest neighboring countries.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine