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30.10.2009

Mrs. Inese Vaidere (Latvia), Mr. Andrzej Grzyb (Poland) and Mr. Algirdas Saudargas (Lithuania) with their participation clearly showed that Ukraine has many friends in Europe. In the meetings with the civil society three global country priorities were outlined in terms of Ukraine:
1) transformation of Ukraine into a mature political nation;
2) EU integration process and the;
3) reform of the internal political process.
The discussions revealed that in the past years there has been no strategic thinking ant that political decisions have been based on the short term calculations against political opponents. This has led Ukraine to instability and eroded trust between politicians and in the institutions in Ukraine. The MEPs agreed that it is crucial that the presidential elections on January 17th 2010 take place in a free, fair and democratic manner, as well as that political compromise is pursued to work together after the elections.

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Mr. Volodymyr Lytvyn, speaker of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in answering questions of Mrs. Vaidere explained that Ukraine needs a stable predictable relationship with Russia while stressed that the relationship should be based on the principle of equality, which is not yet the case.

In the working sessions many benefits as well as challenges were discussed. Ukraine is a country with strong European identity, has a great geographical position and represents a large important market. On the other hand, Ukraine needs to realize reforms especially in terms of its constitutional system, judiciary, pension system and energy policy.

EPP Members welcomed the progress on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and expressed hope it will be finalised as soon as possible.

Second day saw especially a discussion of the Visa Facilitation Agreement and Agreement on Readmission that have recently been signed by both sides. The Ukrainian side voiced many concerns with respect of how the system of Visa Facilitation is functioning. Mr. Grzyb explained the experience of Poland with this issue in their past and asked for the assessment also of the small border traffic agreement. Mr. Saudargas called upon the commission to answer the questions on the problems the Ukrainian citizens are facing, because the problem is serious and we must provide answers, which are to be found in member states. The PCC decided to form a working group that would examine the situation and see what can be done to improve the situation. Mrs. Vaidere was clear: “we need to help Ukrainians who are our friends and for this reason we have decided to examine the workings of the current visa facilitation agreement.”

Meetings with Ukrainian president Viktor Yuschenko and former Parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk, both candidates at the January 2010 presidential elections were quick but productive as they offered insight into the thinking and plans of the Ukrainian political leaders.