Ljubljana, 5 December 2005 Press release

Plassnik: "Step by step is a smart strategy"


European Neighbourhood Policy is one of the priorities of Austria’s EU Presidency

Ljubljana, 5 December 2005 - On the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik met for talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Boris Tarasjuk today. Issues on the top of the agenda were the relationships of Ukraine to the European Union and the OSCE, and the domestic policy situation in Ukraine before the parliamentary elections of March 2006.

"Traditionally, very good bilateral relations unite us with Ukraine. Particularly the last few months saw intensified political, economic and parliamentary contacts," said the Foreign Minister.

"The political reforms of the past year have brought new dynamics into Ukrainian domestic policy, which has also had a positive effect on rapprochement with European structures. Rapprochement is taking place step by step on the basis of the Action Plan of the European Neighbourhood Policy. This custom-made approach is a smart strategy for both sides," stated Plassnik.

Specific elements of the Action Plan are the implementation of economic and social reforms, measures for simplifying trade, reforms in the fields of justice and home affairs, as well as transport and energy.

"It is our aim to fill the Action Plan with life and implement it in practice. Austria supports Ukraine as well as possible. We will also deal intensively with the implementation of the Action Plan during our Presidency," emphasised Foreign Minister Plassnik. "I hope that concrete results will be achieved before the parliamentary elections of March 2006," Plassnik continued.

"The forthcoming parliamentary elections are of extraordinary importance for Ukraine. It is essential that these take place in a free and fair manner in compliance with international standards," said the Foreign Minister.

"Cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine is also excellent in the area of the OSCE. Ukraine is an active and reliable partner, which is prepared to take on a strong and balancing role in the region," concluded Plassnik.

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