Addressing the meeting of the Council of Regions, President Viktor Yanukovych stressed that the government had set itself a very ambitious and difficult task – to conduct systematic modernization of Ukraine and ensure its competitiveness.

“We have already developed and started the implementation of a package of economic reforms: fiscal and budgetary reform, deregulation of business, government reform and a package of social reforms.

It is time to launch housing reform, lay the foundations for deep restructuring of the economy, reform the security sector and other areas," he said, presidential press office reported.

"We are gradually restoring the economy. Last year we spent stabilizing the economy. It really was the year of restoring economic growth and human welfare.

Compared to January 2010, the average salary in Ukraine has grown more than 400 UAH, at 9% inflation has been the lowest in the last 7 years, industrial production has grown 10%, registered unemployment rate has held steady below 2%. Yet, the difference in development of regions of Ukraine at the moment is extremely large. For example, the average salary in Kyiv is twice higher than in the Chernihiv or Ternopil region. The level of officially registered unemployment in the Poltava region is almost 10 times higher than in the capital.

I am confident that such differences in regional development cause mistrust and give rise to political speculations," Viktor Yanukovych said.

He stressed that strategic goal of Ukraine's foreign policy is European integration. Therefore, leveling regional development is an absolute requirement of the European model of development. "For example, in Germany you will not see significant differences in wage levels, social security, education or career opportunities between a small town and Berlin. It is so in many countries of the European Union," President Yanukovych said.

He called the meeting to focus on the following questions:

What kind of new system of regional development do we need in the conditions of market economy, given the fact that most of the economy is in private hands, and economic growth depends on local initiative and investment attractiveness of each territory?

Does the current model of regional development meet our European integration strategy?

To what extent our regions are ready for cooperation with the "Europe of Regions"?

What prevents Ukrainian regions from taking advantage of the opportunities and responding to challenges of cross-border nature?

How do we consolidate the country through inter-regional cooperation?

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