In a television address to the nation, Victor Yushchenko said the year 2006 would be the time to introduce national reforms, presidential press office reported.

The National Health Program is intent to provide each citizen with free medical services and restore our health system.

The President opined that by investing in healthcare the country contributed to the national economy and reduced poverty.

“I will personally control the implementation of national programs to fight cancer, TB, HIV/AIDS, heart and blood disease,” he claimed.

Commenting on educational reform, the Head of State said, “It is time for ‘the knowledge economy’ when intellectual resources bring greater profits than natural riches.”

The President believes government should help all people receive good education.

“We will make teachers respected again and give them normal salaries and create modern working conditions. We will eradicate corruption in education by introducing independent tests,” he said.

Speaking about agrarian reform, the President noted that it should be based on modern technologies, credits, and social programs. He expects these measures to make young people return to villages. 

One of the most important tasks for government in 2006 would be to diversify the energy market and introduce energy saving reforms. Yushchenko said they planned to reduce the energy consumption by 10% this year.

Judicial reform aims to make the judicial branch independent and help the people protect their rights.

“This reform must be focused on judges. As President, I will spare no effort to make Ukraine’s judicial system independent,” he said and then noted that fair justice would help fight corruption.

Commenting on Ukraine’s foreign policy, the Head of State promised it would not change. Our strategic goal is to join the European Union. Yushchenko also intends to re-build Ukrainian-Russian relations.

“I will demand that each official and each Ukrainian diplomat should uncompromisingly defend national interests,” he pledged.

The Head of State said he hoped the new parliament would more actively adapt national laws to European norms and standards, which should make us closer to the EU and NATO.

Summing up the year 2005, the President described it as “year of reappraisal of opinions.”

“We all looked at ourselves and our country, its history and future anew,” Yushchenko said.

He believes society received government which carries out its program and solves all problems through a dialogue.

Serious measures were adopted to legalize the economy. Yushchenko said this had helped raise revenues by 1.5 times and added that the country had received billions of privatization hryvnyas.

The Head of State also said the economy was developing quite dynamically and real incomes of the people had increased by 20%.

Yushchenko then reiterated that the great achievement of his government was freedom of speech.

Commenting on Ukraine’s international gains, the President said, “We proved that Kyiv is a predictable and responsible partner which respects its neighbors and builds foreign policy according to its strategic interests. We became closer to Europe. We became intelligible to Russia. The world admitted that Ukraine can defend its interests.”

He said one of the examples was the solution of the gas problem. The President claimed that Ukraine had the cheapest gas in Europe and no gas prices for the people had been raised while our gas transport system still belonged to Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian gas transport system today belongs to Ukraine and Ukraine will not consider any questions regarding a change of that status,” he said.

The President also said responsible government should analyze its mistakes.

“I gave all who were with me in the Maidan last year a chance to work as one team. Unfortunately, personal ambitions often outweighed and the country was losing time,” he said but assured the people that he would not allow anyone to act destructively to undermine our economic development.

Yushchenko concluded, “The major lesson we learned in 2005 is that Ukraine is above all. Our team must be strong and united and give up personal ambitions for the sake of the future.”


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