EU softened tone of recent critical statements on Ukraine

09:27, 12 March 2007
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Chalyy calls Brussels visit `successful`

Victor Yushchenko’s visit to Brussels is successful, his deputy chief of staff Oleksandr Chalyy told reporters on Thursday, according to the President`s press-office.

“We are now witnessing the initiation of Victor Yushchenko’s new European breakthrough,” he said.

Chalyy said today’s meeting with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, was particularly successful.

She softened the tone of her recent “rather critical" statements on Ukraine, he said. Ms. Ferrero-Waldner also said for the first time that an enhanced cooperation agreement between Ukraine and the European Union would be named after both sides agreed on its provisions. Chalyy also quoted her as saying that “the European Neighbourhood Policy does not determine Ukraine’s future relations with the EU.”

“So I would like to interpret it as a future probability of membership,” he said.

Chalyy said talks to sign the agreement would take more than a year, its most important element being a free trade agreement. The issue, however, can only be discussed after Ukraine’s WTO accession, he added.

Victor Yushchenko also met with Javier Solana, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Hans-Gert Pottering, President of the European Parliament. He is now participating in a summit of the European People’s Party and is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

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