Ostash: New Ukraine-EU Relations Have Been Born in Brussels

KIEV, Ukraine -- "Today and yesterday in Brussels could be characterized as the birth days of the new relations with EU and the beginning of a long but prospective road to the European integration. We have left behind the foreign policy approaches used by the former president," declared the vice president of the OSCE Parliamentary assembly Ihor Ostash, MP.

He thinks that the most important event in Brussels was the signing of the Ukraine-EU Action Plan, since it anticipates serious cooperation in adopting Ukrainian legislation to European standards and solving the issue of acquiring the status of the free market economy by Ukraine, which will make it possible to enter the European market. The deputy paid special attention to the future signing of the agreement on exporting Ukrainian textiles and steel. "Better steel export and anti-damping protection is especially important for the eastern regions of Ukraine, as they are the most interested in it," he stressed.

Moreover, the Action Plan opens up the possibility of the new and more serious treaty with the EU, thinks the PA OSCE vice president. "The year 2008 could become the final year of the partnership treaty with the EU and the signing of the treaty on the associate membership," he is convinced.

The people's deputy also backed the president's position on Ukraine's joining NATO. He noted that, "joining NATO is easier than joining the EU," and it is possible to comply with the necessary conditions within two years. "However, the people of Ukraine will have to make a corresponding decision. If there are talks about unifying the nation, there is a need of helping people [understand and] accept NATO," noted Ihor Ostash.

At the same time he noted the importance of the success of the new government in the 2006 parliamentary elections. "The Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine will depend on how convincing the steps made by the new government team are because the president will get at least four-five years to implement his programme," noted the people's deputy, "The victory in the parliamentary elections is a serious precondition for joining both the EU and NATO."