Victor Yushchenko has spoken at a heads of state summit “Common Vision for Common Neighborhood” in Vilnius, according to the President’s press-office.

      In his speech, Matching Membership Ambitions with Membership Criteria: Challenges Ahead, the President said democracy was one of the keys to resolve problems and face challenges that are topical for both our region and Europe.

      “All countries of the region must understand this truth to consolidate,” he said. “Thus guaranteeing Europe’s enlargement is one of the most serious challenges of the day.”

      Mr. Yushchenko declared that new democracies, which considerably contribute to the promotion of regional stability and economic development, need to be actively supported by the Euro-Atlantic community.

      The Chief of State said the remarkable conduct of the March 26 elections in Ukraine confirmed the country’s commitment to democratic values as well as its political maturity and desire to live in accordance with European standards.

      “The election results indicate the irreversibility of our choice and also our determination to continue reforms and join the EU and NATO,” he said.

      The Head of State described the NATO as “one of the strategic targets of Ukraine’s state policy.”

      “We expect a NATO membership action plan to be approved soon, enabling Ukraine to approach the final stage of its integration,” he stated.

      Mr. Yushchenko also pointed to the unprecedented acceleration of Ukraine-EU relations. He said we were successfully implementing the Ukraine-EU Action Plan, which makes it possible to sign a new enhanced agreement with the EU. He insisted that it should be an associated membership agreement, “intent to create prerequisites for gradual integration of Ukraine with the European Union.”

      “The scope of our interaction with the EU is continuously expanding. By actively using the mechanism of joining resolutions and positions of the EU we demonstrate our solidarity in resolving internationally significant problems,” he said, reminding those present that Ukrainian initiatives had helped involve the EU and the USA in settling the Trans-dniester conflict.

      “We hope the EU will soon clearly declare that the philosophy of our relations will be based on the ‘open-door’ principle. Ukraine can no longer stay where it stands right now,” he said, adding that the support of our aspirations would be “the confirmation of the declared intention to build the United Europe without borders.”

      The Head of State also said regional initiatives were vital to spread European values and promote stability: “This is one of the ways to achieve universal understanding and cooperation for the sake of Europe and make it the world’s economic leader and active global player.”