Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Yushchenko pushes hard for EU integration and foreign investment

By Aussiegirl

Viktor Yushchenko, speaking before an enthusiastic audience attending an investment conference organized by Renaissance International, pushed hard for economic integration into Europe and declared: "Let no one get the impression that our nation is standing in short pants at the gates of Europe, knocking to get inside. We are not Europe's neighbors. We are the center of Europe. What we are is the EU's neighbor. And we want EU membership."

Reuters reports his comments met with a standing ovation. He made it clear that he intends an all out push for economic integration and EU membership by 2007, with entry into the WTO by November.

He reiterated his pledge to clean up government to improve the business and investment climate.

Read more from the article:

. . .His government was resolved to introduce European standards in Ukrainian politics and social programs, with a special cabinet post set aside for European integration.

Ukraine, he said, had in hand the first chance in at least two centuries to harness its statehood to national interests.
"It is possible we will make mistakes," he said. "I am not afraid of mistakes. But I want you to be standing alongside us." He told investors a review of post-Soviet privatizations, to be drawn up soon, concerned only two or three dozen sell-offs. "This list will be limited and closed in that it will not be revived. There will be one such list."

During Ukraine's long election campaign Yushchenko said he would demand larger sums from investors deemed to have acquired property on the cheap in dubious circumstances.

He told the conference Kryvoryzhstal "will be returned to the state, and a public, international tender will be organized. You will see ... that we will bring into the state budget three or four times the sum from the first tender."

Yushchenko last week said his administration could consider returning the plant to the public sector. The winners of last year's $800 million sale included the son-in-law of ex-President Leonid Kuchma and a close ally of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, defeated by Yushchenko in the December election.


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