Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek today met his Ukrainian counterpart Juriy Yekhanurov with whom he discussed future Ukrainian membership in the EU, military cooperation and cooperation in the energy industry, CTK informed. 

The two prime ministers signed inter-governmental agreements on cooperation in the defence industry and tourism. Paroubek described Ukraine as a key strategic partner and said that Czech-Ukrainian relations were satisfactory.

According to Paroubek, there are about 90,000 Ukrainians working in the Czech Republic. "They are help for medium-sized and small businesses," he said. Paroubek told CTK that the question of legalization of the presence of Ukrainian citizens who have stayed in the Czech Republic illegally was not discussed during the talks. Paroubek said that the Czech Republic was counting with Ukraine as an important source of labour force.

At a press conference after the talks, Paroubek said that the Czech Republic had a strong interest in the development of the Ukrainian energy industry. He described as promising cooperation in saving energy sources.

Paroubek said that Ukraine could rely on the Czech Republic's support after its parliamentary elections that are due at the end of March. He said that the Ukrainian prime minister assured him that his country would continue its pro-European orientation and gradual integration with Trans-Atlantic organizations. Yekhanurov said that the Czech Republic's support for Ukraine in its rapprochement to the EU was very important.

Paroubek described the question of the Ukrainian debt to the Czech Republic as the only long-term open question in Czech- Ukrainian relations. "We have agreed on a system how to proceed in this question," he said.

The Ukrainian parliament should ratify by the end of the current election term an agreement on cooperation in the industry, science and technologies. A mixed commission will be established as part of the agreement that will deal with the problem of the debt, he said. According to the Ukrainian prime minister, the amount of the debt has not yet been calculated precisely.


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