Opening the meeting, President Yanukovych stressed that he expects those present to first of all discuss possibilities of concluding negotiations and signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union already in 2010 as well as introduction of visa free travel for Ukrainian citizens.
He also said that Ukraine must be prepared to consider the action plan for liberalization of visa regulations, now being prepared by the European Commission and expected to be approved in June. Although signing the Association Agreement is clearly a strategic step for Ukraine, said President Yanukovych, the introduction of visa-free travel remains very important for practical development of our relations with the EU.
"Given that European integration remains a priority of our foreign policy, we must today outline effective measures to complete negotiations on signature of the Association Agreement with the EU," said Viktor Yanukovych.
Particularly, he said, all the aspects of European integration must be reflected in the new law on foundations of foreign and internal policy of Ukraine, to be introduced to the Parliament soon.
In recent years, said President Yanukovych, there were many loud but mostly empty statements on the subject of European integration of Ukraine. Now, the government aims to fill declarations with practical meaning.
The President said that before the next Ukraine - EU Summit, scheduled for October 15, Ukraine must complete the work in all areas. In particular, it is necessary to adopt alterations to laws and regulations. "We must have specific answers at the Summit," he said.
"The Association Agreement is a test for both Ukraine and for Europe. Therefore, we must show our professional approach to this issue. For Europe, of course, demonstrating its attitude, its sense of partnership and lack of double standards is also very important," said Viktor Yanukovych.