Ukraine mulls change of philosophy in EU relations
By Honor Mahony
Ukraine wants to start working with the EU on the premis that it will one day join the bloc.
A foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday (18 January) said that the ministry of foreign affairs is going to work on changing the "philosophy of co-operation with the European Union" from a policy of neighbourhood to a policy of membership, according to Interfax.
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Speaking to Ukraine journalists, Markian Lubkivsky said that Ukraine would also try and work on improving the recently-agreed action plan with the EU.
The action plan governs bilateral relations over a range of issues, including trade, education and culture, between Kiev and Brussels.
Mr Lubkivsky continued by saying that Ukraine should make it clear to the EU that it eventually would like to become a member of the European Union.
"The form of application may be arbitrary, important is to let the EU Council of Ministers know about the wish to become a member" he said, according to the Ukranian information agency.
A spokesperson at the Ukraine mission to the EU played down the comments saying that it would be "more realistic" to wait for a plan of co-operation between Ukraine and the EU.
This would have to be thought out by the newly-elected Victor Yuschenko.
For the weeks since elections on 26 December, Ukraine has been in a state of limbo as its supreme court considered a last-ditch appeal by the defeated candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, who wanted the election annulled.
However, the situation is to change on Thursday (20 January) following a decision by the supreme court that the presidential results may be published - they are to appear in Thursday's papers.
The next official time Kiev and Brussels will formally come face to face is for a Ukraine-EU council on 22 February.
The prospect of Ukraine's eventual membership of the EU has been raised ever since the pro-Western Mr Yuschenko was elected, Turkey was given the go-ahead to open membership talks and MEPs recently voted in favour of the country one day joining the bloc.
To apply for membership of the 25-nation bloc, Ukraine would have to submit a formal application to the council of member states.
The council would pass the application on the Commission for it to make an initial assessment on whether it complies with the EU's democracy criteria.
A questionnaire would then be sent to Kiev on all aspects of EU policy - the answer to which would be used for a Commission opinion on the state of the country and its membership application.
The European Commission continues to insist that its policy is is a neighbourhood policy although its chief spokesperson said at the beginning of the week that "nothing is never out of the order".