In his speech during the plenary meeting of the 5th Ukraine-EU Economic Forum, the President of Ukraine noted that it was very important to hold such forums to establish links between government and business and develop regional and border cooperation. Yushchenko said he was convinced that the forum, which is being held in Lviv on October 5-8, “will yield specific results.”

He believes it is vital to attract foreign and national investment, for Ukraine’s economic growth and employment rate greatly dependon it, President's press office reported.

Commenting on relations between government and businessmen, the President confessed that the latter had not been able to work normally under the former regime. The Head of State thinks this resulted in Ukraine’s lowest investment rate among all East European countries.

“Today, we should not superficially agitate for business contacts and investment but must step by step eradicate all problems that have been accumulating for years,” said Yushchenko.

He added that the new government should elaborate a plan to create comfortable conditions for businessmen in all regions of Ukraine.

Speaking about current difficulties for investors, the Head of State said,” I think two thirds of our officials do not realize them. Otherwise, they would be horrified and elaborate a plan to solve these problems.”

Touching on geopolitical issues, the President stressed that Ukraine had its political interests “in the East and in the West.” Yushchenko is convinced it would be a great mistake for Ukraine to lose eastern markets because of “political intrigues.” However, he said “the European market has approached us westward.”

“Ukraine’s interest to become a EU member is not caused by any political fashion but a unique opportunity to implement our strategic interests,” he said.

Speaking about our eastern partners, the President noted that Ukraine would only proceed from its interests.

“Everything we do should not contradict our EU integration. This is the opinion both the President and his government adhere to when speaking about our relations with Russia,” he stressed.

TheHead of Statesaid Ukraine “held wonderful negotiations” in Kazan and thanked his CES colleagues for understanding our position and letting each side choose its own pace of CES integration.

Yushchenko noted that after signing the Ukraine – EU Action Plan in 2005, Ukraine had a “clear ‘road map’ of its further movement towards the EU.” He said Ukraine would soon get a market economy status and solve problems to prevent anti-damping allegations. He is convinced that we will achieve these goals this year. Speaking about WTO membership, the President said Ukraine would hopefully do this in December 2005.Yushchenko reiterated that the Verkhovna Rada should still approve fourteen bills and added that he would soon consult parliamentary leaders on the subject.

“I will spare no effort to take this step,” he said.

The Head of State noted that WTO membership would make it possible for Ukraine to negotiate free trade zone regulations and an associate member status with the EU.


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