If Ukraine is chosen to host Euro 2012, this will facilitate its EU integration, Victor Yushchenko said at a joint news conference with Poland’s Lech Kaczynski in Cardiff on Tuesday, president's press office reported.

“We believe this is an element of our foreign policy aimed at integrating into the European Union,” he said, adding that 83% of the country’s population supported Ukraine and Poland’s bid to host the European football championship, according to public opinion polls.

The Ukrainian leader said it was necessary to shift the focus towards the areas of Europe that have numerous football fans and have been actively seeking to join the European Union. He said Italy, which is considered by many to be the most probable winner tomorrow, “has already made a colossal contribution to football.”

“So we believe there will be some historical justice if the voting committee chooses our countries,” he said.

He characterized today’s presentation by Ukraine and Poland as “effective and held in a good atmosphere.”

“I am convinced that our countries have the best chance to win and we will use this chance,” he said.

Yushchenko said Ukraine’s tourist infrastructure could accommodate up to one million foreign visitors and that the two countries were expected to sell products and services worth USD 3 billion during the event. He said Ukraine could also guarantee security during the matches and called our nation tolerant, which can be seen during political rallies in Kyiv now.

When asked about how Ukraine is going to finance the championship, the President said private business could help. He added that Ukrainian lawmakers had already passed bills encouraging investment in the development of infrastructure for Euro 2012. He promised that the government would support businesspeople wishing to help. He also expressed confidence the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine would not affect tomorrow’s decision by the UEFA voting committee.


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