Ukraine Seeks To Win EU Association Agreement In 2011

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych said the government will implement measures that will permit visa-free travel between his country and the European Union as he seeks to sign an EU association agreement next year.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Kostayntyn Gryshchenko (L) exchanges documents with European Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fuele (R) as Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich (back, L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (back, R) applaud, after the signing of an agreement during an EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels November 22, 2010.

“The key result of today’s meeting was presentation of the action plan toward a visa-free regime for Ukraine,” Yanukovych told reporters today in Brussels. “This is a joint effort by the EU and Ukraine.”

The government will have to take steps next year that “are not going to be easy,” Yanukovych said without providing details.

The president also said he wants to speed up talks over an association agreement and sign the document in 2011.

Ukraine initially planned to sign an association agreement laying out cooperation with the EU after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2008.

A decision was delayed in 2009 and again this year because the EU said Ukraine lacked commitment to economic and political restructuring.

“We have today agreed an ambitious action plan which spells out necessary reforms,” European Commission President Jose Barroso said at the same event. Implementing the required changes is “now largely at Ukraine’s hands,” he said.

Source: Bloomberg