The European Union’s Doors Are Open To Ukraine -- Timoshenko

PARIS, France -- The European Union’s doors are open to Ukraine even though France and the Netherlands have rejected the European Constitution in referendums, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said.

“We have already felt the support of the European Union for our plans to join the World Trade Organisation and acquire the status of a market economy,” Timoshenko said at a press conference after talks with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on Monday.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (L) greets Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R)

“But most importantly we could feel that despite the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands, the European Union’s doors are not closed to us,” she added.

At the same time, she admitted, “It is hard to speak about the date of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union”. Local analysts note that 14 years after gaining independence this former Soviet republic has not received the status of a market economy yet.

But Timoshenko believes that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union would strengthen Europe’s energy security.

“I am confident that if Ukraine joins the EU, it will not create any problems for the EU, but on the contrary it will provide opportunities for solving its problems. Ukraine is an important hub of cargo, oil and gas transportation routes, which will ensure the energy security of the West,” Timoshenko said in an interview with Europe-1 radio earlier in the day.

She believes that “Ukraine’s isolation for several years created a situation where Ukraine has no reliable economic partners”.

Timoshenko, who is in France on an official visit, stressed the economic aspect of the visit. She said the agreements to be reached and signed in Paris would bring Ukraine further along the road of integration with the EU.

In her words, at least 15 documents on trade and cooperation would be signed during the visit.

Speaking ahead of her visit to the Le Bourget air show, Timoshenko said Ukraine had a unique transport plane, which is ready for use and “has no analogues in the world”.

Source: ITAR-Tass