Victor Yushchenko has met with Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and State Secretary for European Affairs of Portugal’s Foreign Ministry Manuel Lobo Antunes, who are in Kyiv to participate in a Ukraine- EU (Troika) meeting, according to the President`s press-office.

      The President praised our relationship with the European Union. He said Ukraine was eager to start talks aimed at signing a new agreement with Europe.

      “The pace of our cooperation is very dynamic, and we think the beautiful mission of the EU delegation today will help continue this cooperation,” he said.

      Mr. Yushchenko said his government had made a big contribution to the fulfillment of the Ukraine-EU Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation.

      “I think Ukraine and its partners in the EU have taken lots of important steps in the past two years to reinforce our cooperation and understanding,” he said, adding that more than seventy events had been held to achieve this goal.

      “We are pleased with our talks and common actions. But we feel we need to intensify relations by formulating basic principles of political association and basic principles of economic integration.”

      One of Ukraine’s ambitions is to integrate into Europe’s energy system, he explained. The President said our country had made much progress in social and cultural projects with the EU and thanked Europe for its decision to liberalize visa requirements and sign agreements on extradition.

      Mr. Steinmeier characterized our dialogue as highly successful. He said Ukraine’s cooperation with the EU should help develop relations in the future and build closer ties in many important areas. He said the talks on the new agreement can start in February or at the beginning of March.

      Victor Yushchenko and the EU leaders spoke about political, economic and security issues. They also discussed Ukraine’s role in Europe’s energy strategy.

      Acting Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko, Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha and Presidential EU Representative Roman Shpek attended the meeting.