Ukraine, EU seek closer ties2010-09-14 00:15:59
BRUSSELS, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych paid a visit to the European Union on Monday, seeking ways to strengthen relations between the two sides in view of the upcoming Ukraine-EU summit, which is scheduled for November this year.
"We would like to have a free trade area agreement that would suggest the gradual integration of the Ukrainian economy into the European Union," Yanukovych said at a joint news conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
In relation with the introduction of a visa-free regime, Yanukovych said that the works on the action plan have already started and that the process should be completed by the time of the next Ukraine-EU summit. "And we have a join vision of the process."
On the negotiation of an Association Agreement, Van Rompuy explained that it will include the most developed Free Trade Agreement the EU has ever concluded, not only because it will provide market access, but because it's also a fundamentally important tool for modernization and approximation of Ukrainian laws and standards to the ones applicable in the bloc.
"With Ukraine moving forward in her reform process, the EU stands by her side, to support and assist with both advice and financial resources," Van Rompuy said.
In a statement published after meeting with Yanukovych, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said a more dynamic Ukrainian economy is beneficial for both sides. "We agree to speed up negotiations and conclude the agreement rapidly."
They also discussed the reform of the Ukrainian energy sector and Barroso said he was pleased to note that there has been real progress, particularly with the adoption of a new gas law.
The EU stands ready to promote a trilateral dialogue with Ukraine and Russia on energy issues, according to the statement made by Barroso.