EU Wants New, Broader Partnership With Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union wants to deepen its ties with Ukraine and hold talks with the new government in Kiev on a wider cooperation agreement, the EU's external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Saturday.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Ferrero-Waldner was speaking days after the confirmation of pro- Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich as the new Ukrainian prime minister.

A new EU-Ukrainian agreement could cover free-trade, the former Austrian foreign minister said. First however, the path for Ukrainian membership of the World Trade Organization would have to be opened.

"I trust that the new government will continue on the path of both political and economic reform," she said.

Cooperation between the EU and Ukraine have been stepped up following that country's Orange Revolution that brought pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko to power in early 2005, particularly in the areas of energy and border security, the EU commissioner said.

Source: DPA