At a meeting with members of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Victor Yushchenko said Ukraine’s successful participation in European projects would improve its EU membership prospects, according to the President’s press-office.

The Head of State opined that the implementation of such projects could influence the position of the European Union. He is convinced Ukraine’s energy initiatives “will one day form the potential to make a political decision [to accept it as a new member of the European Union]." “Ukraine must become a strong regional player,” he said, characterizing these policies as “the best mechanism to help our country integrate with both EU and NATO.”

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The President also said recent polls revealed that more than fifty per cent of EU residents did not object to Ukraine’s membership.

When speaking about our country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, he said Ukraine would hopefully be invited to join the membership action plan at this year’s NATO summit in Riga.

The Head of State reiterated that Ukraine would spare no effort to build friendly and mutually beneficial relations with the Russian Federation: “I am convinced we are standing on the path of building new relations with Russia, which will be based on the principle of equality. Ukraine understands that it must not bring the burden of its problems with the neighbors to Europe.”

The CCFR members assured Mr. Yushchenko they had seen many positive changes in Ukraine during their visit. Marshall M. Bouton, CCFR President, said the United States had been watching Ukraine since the Orange Revolution and supported our country’s bid to join the European Union and develop democratic values.

Economy Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko, and Head of the State Department for Investment and Innovation Victor Ivchenko were present at the meeting.