Ukraine's ambition is to meet the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership, Victor Yushchenko said on Thursday in a speech at the Folketing, Denmark’s parliament, President’s press office informed.

“It is time for a new realism in Ukraine’s relations with the European Union,” he said.

The President said Ukraine “seeks to meet the Copenhagen criteria to create a stable, prosperous and democratic society.”

“We therefore need to focus on the substance of reform and not become preoccupied with the end point,” he said, adding that EU membership was Ukraine’s “ultimate goal but not an end in itself.”

The [Copenhagen] criteria require that a state have the institutions to preserve democratic governance and human rights, a functioning market economy, and that the state accept the obligations and intent of the EU, he said. He added that these changes would help Ukraine become a “successful, competitive participant of European life.”

Yushchenko expressed hopes we would be able to call on the good will and support of our friends throughout Europe and sosuggested establishing a ‘panel of wise men’ composed of senior European figures with the experience and expertise needed to set out a path towards EU membership.

He said Ukraine should be more understanding of pressures facing the EU but opined that Europe would never be united without Ukraine and other countries of the region.


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