Victor Yushchenko and Finland’s Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen have presided over the tenth summit "Ukraine-EU" in Helsinki, according to the President`s press-office.
Its participants discussed a wide range of issues.
In his speech, the President said Ukraine “has managed to achieve political stability in the past five-six months.”
“All the political forces conducted post-election negotiations to compromise on key national priorities,” he said, adding that among such priorities was Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
“We appreciate that the European Union is ready to develop cooperation with Ukraine,” he continued, expressing gratitude to EU officials for supporting our bid to join the World Trade Organization.
Mr. Yushchenko welcomed the successful completion of talks on readmission and visa requirements. He also said Ukraine sought closer trade and economic ties with the European Union.
Speaking about the European Union’s enlargement, the Head of State said: “I am convinced that the upcoming enlargement, as well as similar actions in the future, will successfully benefit this big European project.” He described it as “a unique factor of Europe’s stabilization, a stimulus for democratic and market transformations on the continent, particularly in Eastern Europe.” He added that Ukraine was “occasionally worried about the intention to determine EU borders.”
“We hope these discussions will not result in the creation of some new Berlin Wall along the EU borders,” he said.
The President said Ukraine was ready to continue reforms to integrate into the European Union and expressed confidence the sides would find strategic compromises.
Mr. Vanhanen said the EU was not going to deprive any country of EU prospects but would definitely demand that its potential members meet all the requirements for membership. He said the EU was ready to start talks on an enhanced agreement with Ukraine in 2007. He added the major element of this agreement should be the creation of a free trade zone, enabling to improve our economic relations. He, however, said Ukraine must join the World Trade Organization first.
President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said the enhanced agreement between Ukraine and the EU would be “an important component of our strategic partnership.”
“We believe this document should be innovative and ambitious,” he opined.
Mr. Barroso stated that the Ukrainian government must ensure political stability and efficient interaction of executive, legislative and judicial offices to successfully integrate into the EU. The government must also institute reforms, fight corruption, ensure independent justice and create a transparent business and investment climate. He praised Victor Yushchenko’s recent decision to submit anti-corruption bills to the Verkhovna Rada.
The Head of State agreed with Mr. Barroso that the enhanced agreement should have “concrete ambitious plans.”
“The essence of the enhanced agreement is our transition from partnership and cooperation to political association and economic integration. It is very important for Ukraine not to have a copy of the agreement on partnership and cooperation but to have an agreement outlining concrete projects and terms of their implementation,” he said.
Mr. Yushchenko declared that Ukrainians “need to see the European doors open.”
“Without this principal element the political chapter of the agreement will have no sense,” he said.
The President is convinced that we are cooperating with the EU at “a good pace” and expressed hopes we “will be able to consolidate two energy systems in 15-18 months.” He also expressed confidence that Ukraine’s parliament would pass WTO bills by November 20 and Ukraine receive a positive signal on December 21 in Geneva.