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10 June, 1998
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On June 8, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko came to Luxembourg on a two-day official visit with a view of attending the maiden session of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council and holding talks with Luxembourg's top officials. The EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council's session was to endorse procedural rules for the Council and its Committee for multilateral trade and investments and discuss matters of cooperation between Ukraine, and the EU in such specific areas as justice and law enforcement. Problems relating to the Chernobyl NPP's shut-down were discussed, too. The session also considered prospects of EU-Ukrainian cooperation from the angle of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement the two parties signed together with a joint working program for implementing the Agreement in 1998 and 1999.

During his first official visit to Luxembourg, the head of Ukrainian government held talks with Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker, Foreign Minister Jaques Poos, Chairman of the House of Deputies Jean Spauz. An intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in banking training was signed. The two leaders attended a workshop on "Economic Cooperation between Luxembourg and Ukraine". Mr. Pustovoitenko's visit schedule provided for a meeting with His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean.

Ukraine's position remains unaltered and aimed at further integration with European and Transatlantic institutions, Ukrainian Prime Minister Pustovoitenko said at a meeting with his Luxembourg counterpart Jean-Claude Junkers. He voiced Ukraine’s readiness to become an associate member of the EU as early as this year. According to Mr. Pustovoitenko, Ukraine counts on expending economic and trade relations with EU member-nations. Ukraine's foreign trade turn-over with the EU presently stands at $5 billion a year, though its balance is unfavorable to Ukraine to the tune of $1.3 b. In Mr. Pustovoitenko's opinion, this is largely due to restrictions imposed by the EU on commodities Ukraine tries to market in Europe.

According to the host party, bilateral relations between Luxembourg and Ukraine have developed more favorably compared with the EU-Ukraine relationship. In Mr.Junkers’ opinion, business-to-business relations between Ukraine and Luxembourg are the most promising area of cooperation. He also urged concerted policies with regard to custom dues and import duties. As Mr. Junker said, he agrees with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister who accused the European Union of having no clear-cut policies toward Ukraine. EU member-nations should have more information available about Ukraine, he said adding that, probably, it would be premature to expect the EU to make a decision on accepting Ukraine as its associate member. Mr. Junker was reported to have expressed Luxembourg's interest in seeing Ukraine as a EU member and pledged his nation's support for Ukraine in its bid to join the Union.


In Prime Minister Pustovoitenko’s words, Ukraine expects the European Union to take concrete steps to demonstrate its trust in Ukraine. Addressing the inaugural meeting of the Ukrainian-EU Cooperation Council in Luxembourg on June 9, the Ukrainian prime minister stressed that adoption by the EU of a specific political decision recognizing Ukraine as a nation with an economy in transition would simplify relations between Ukraine and the EU. He disclosed that Ukraine is drafting a national strategy for integration into the EU. As to the Ukraine-EU relations, in the Ukrainian prime minister’s view, the dialogue between the two sides has not reached a level of coordinated joint action. He expressed the hope for early commencement of a consultative negotiating process that would stipulate granting Ukraine associate membership of the European Union.

He thanked the EU for its active support for Ukraine's bid for membership of the World Trade Organization, and stressed that Ukraine's integration into the European Union is directly connected with its membership of the WTO. According to him, Ukraine's road to the EU will be quite complicated and long if it does not acquire the WTO’s membership. Mr. Pustovoitenko expressed hope that the EU Council of Ministers will agree on signing Ukraine-EU agreements on trade in agricultural products and nuclear materials as well as on cooperation on nuclear safety, management of thermonuclear synthesis, science and technology, and social welfare. Mr. Pustovoitenko said Ukraine has begun bilateral military cooperate with individual members of the EU and hopes to develop cooperation within a multilateral mechanism. In this context, it would be logical for Ukraine to be invited as an observer to the European conference. "We also count on more active support for our efforts aimed at harmonizing the Ukrainian legislation with the EU normative acts", he added. In conclusion, the Ukrainian prime minister underlined that he expected the European Union's response regarding its strategic vision of further development of relations with Ukraine, preferably at the Ukraine-EU summit scheduled for October.


Ukraine's Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk met with his counterparts from European Union member-states in Luxembourg on June 9, who gathered there to attend the inaugural meeting of the Ukraine-EU Cooperation Council. Ukraine's integration into European structures, and the deepening of ties between Ukraine and the EU featured prominently during the meeting. The foreign ministers of Great Britain, Sweden, and Austria confirmed their country's intention to assist in further bringing Ukraine closer to the EU, particularly through implementation of the Ukrainian-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, a well as to provide assistance in adapting Ukraine's legislation to the European Union's norms and requirements. The ministers welcomed Ukraine's orientation to Europe and the Ukrainian leadership's positive steps to strengthen stability and security in Europe. Mr. Tarasiuk discussed with each of the ministers ways of broadening cooperation between Ukraine and their countries, particularly ways of boosting trade and investment into Ukraine’s economy.


The European Union's chief criteria for Ukraine's chances to integrate with the European community envisage the Ukrainian society's political accord and irreversibility of its democratic and market reforms, Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko said commenting to journalists in Kiev on June 10, on the outcome of the recent session in Luxembourg of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council. The Prime Minister urged the nation's societal accord as vital for continued democratic transformations in Ukraine and its national economy's restructuring along market lines. He reiterated the Ukrainian leadership's unswerving course toward these goals with the private sector currently accounting for over 50 percent of GDP.


Ukraine and the European Union will shortly resume their dialogue with Hans Van den Broek, a EuroCommission member in charge of foreign policies, expected to visit Ukraine next July. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister is scheduled to hold a meeting with the EU Ministerial Troika before Vienna, Austria's capital, plays host to a Ukraine-EU Summit in October. The Ukrainian party is hoping for these meetings and talks boosting Ukraine's cooperation with the EU.

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