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Ukrainian President Criticizes EU'S Neighborhood Policy

The Ukraine-EU summit in The Hague on 8 July has failed to produce any political or economic agreements regarding mutual ties, Ukrainian and international media reported.

In particular, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende did not make any promises about when the EU may grant Ukraine a market-economy status, which is a key step for Kyiv on its path to membership of the World Trade Organization.

Moreover, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said the EU's European NeighborhoodPolicy does not suit Ukraine's interests and he refused to sign a prepared action plan for Ukraine within the policy's framework.

Kuchma said in The Hague that the action plan should not be a simple systematization of the existing cooperation areas but should open up "realistic prospects for expanding four freedoms in Ukraine – free movement of goods, services, capital, and people," Interfax reported.

According to Kuchma, the action plan should include a list of specific measures to set up a free-trade zone between Ukraine and the EU, to gradually liberalize the visa process, to facilitate the employment and social protection of Ukrainian labor migrants, and to minimize the consequences of EU expansion in the areas of trade and the economy.

(RFE/RL 09.vii.04)

 
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