A decision by the European Parliament to support Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union is a sign of trust in President Victor Yushchenko’s foreign policy, his deputy chief of staff, Oleksandr Chalyy, said on Friday, according to the President`s press-office.

“This is a right step in a very important period for Ukraine. This is a clear signal of support for President Victor Yushchenko’s foreign policy strategy and big trust in our country’s foreign policy course,” he said. “To my mind, the European Parliament has shown today that Ukraine can now expect to sign an agreement on association [with the EU] and become an EU member one day.”

Chalyy said the decision “creates new opportunities for us,” even though it is not binding for those holding talks with Ukraine to sign an enhanced cooperation agreement.

He added it would help intensify Ukraine’s relations with the EU. “The decision by the European Parliament prompts the European Union to increase financial aid to support our EU integration. This is very important because European integration is very costly and requires profound social and legal changes.”

Chalyy, however, said Ukraine’s EU membership was not an end in itself. “We should not focus on our membership date. We must focus on domestic changes and transformations to become a truly European state.”

Speaking about the benefits of Ukraine’s new treaty with the EU, he described it as a “complex document” and said it would help both sides to boost legal and economic ties.

“This agreement means Ukraine’s political association and gradual integration of the Ukrainian economy into the EU market,” he said.